Finding Reliable Health Information Online8/31/2012
The Internet supplies a wealth of resources when you search for health-related advice. Trusting the information on just any website could be risky for your health, so it is important to be able to evaluate the good from the bad. Go ahead and do the online research in preparation for talking with your doctor, but follow these steps to be sure you get the most reliable information.
- Vary your sources. Referencing multiple websites and sources on the same condition or topic of interest is helpful in discerning which information is valid.
- Evaluate motives. Pay attention to any advertisements that run with the text. If all of the ads point to one specific product line or profiting-sponsor, that probably indicates a lack of objectivity.
- Check timing. Medical information is almost always evolving. If an article has not been updated in at least two years, it may no longer be valid.
Whichever websites you choose to explore, remember your physician will be the best resource for questions about your own health. The Internet can be a great research tool and the information you find there should be a springboard for asking questions. Stay skeptical as you search the web for health information, and never hesitate to consult an expert.