6 Reliable Sources of Medical Information Online
There are many different reliable sources of medical information online but it is important to know that just because medical information is online, does not mean that it is reliable medical information. One way to help discern reliable sources of medical information online from less reliable sources, is to look at the organization that is putting the information out there as well as how they are funded.
Whether medical information is online or not, it is important to know who paid for the research. Knowing this can help people to see bias in information that is put out there. Many people are surprised to find out that the party, entity or organization that pays for a particular kind of medical research can influence what researchers find to be good and sound medical information for that particular problem or concern.
As a general rule, health websites sponsored by the Federal Government are good sources of health and medical information. Larger, professional organizations and well-known medical schools can also be good sources of health information. The following eight organizations
– National Institutes of Health
– American Diabetes Association
– Mayo Clinic
– Cleveland Clinic
How to Trust a Website
When you search for medical information online, there is a good chance you will find websites offering medical advice and information that are not well-known. The following questions may be helpful in guiding you to websites you feel like you can trust.
1. Who sponsors and/or hosts a website?
Knowing who pays for and manages a website can provide valuable insight into the mission or goal of the site. Whether or not a sponsor’s and/or host’s information is easily accessible, can also be telling of how valid and relevant a site’s information might be.
2. Who wrote and/or reviewed the information on the site?
In today’s digital world, authors and contributors are usually but not always Identified. When it comes to medical information, you probably want to know who authored or reviewed the information you are interested in before you take it as valid. Knowing whether an author is an expert in their field; what their academic credentials are; whether they work for the organization they are writing for; and whether they have any financial stake in the information they are providing; can all be helpful in validating whether or not the medical information on a particular site is reliable.
3. When was the information written?
Many people assume that if information is online, it is current but this is often not the case. Out-of-date medical information is not something a person should be using to help them to make medical decisions about. If an article doesn’t have a date with the author’s name at the top, you may be able to find this at the bottom of the page. Something to be aware about is that pages on a site may be updated at different times where some pages may be current and others are not.
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