6 Reliable Sources of Medical Information Online

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. 

Reliable Websites

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

– Dugs.com

– MedlinePlus.gov

– Cleveland Clinic

– FamilyDoctor.org

– HeartHub

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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Six Reliable Sources of Medical Information Online

The Internet is a wonderful resource—if you know how to use it. When a medical mystery strikes in your home, you want dependable information as fast as possible. Here are six reliable sources of medical information online to help steer you away from untrustworthy websites.

  1. The National Library of Medicine

Big words like national and library might insinuate the credibility of such a source, but rest assured https://www.nlm.nih.gov/ is one of the most up-to-date and reliable Internet sites to use for medical research. It is run by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and is chock full of helpful information.

  1. Federal Government Agencies

Most websites run by the Federal Government can be identified by the “.gov” at the end of the site address. This indicates that the General Services Administration is vetting the information circulating through affiliated pages, all but guaranteeing their authenticity for use.

  1. Websites Sponsored by Reputable Universities or Nonprofit Organizations

Similarly, web pages ending in “.edu” or “.org” are being run by reputable sources, including colleges or companies focused on the issues you are researching. Check further into contributing entities to ensure that their beliefs are aligned with yours.

  1. Sites Linked to Responsible Authors

While not all privately run web sources advertise who writes them, lean into the ones that do to determine if you can trust everything you are reading. Some examples of trustworthy individual authors might include doctors or educators with outstanding reputations.

  1. Websites with Clearly Stated Intentions to Inform

That means no sales sites or pages advertising for medical merchandise. Online shops with ulterior motives are liable to say anything in order for you to take out your credit card.

  1. Direct References from Your Doctor

Finally, websites recommended by your current medical prescriber are likely credible. In fact, when in doubt, you should always consult a live physician for medical information or bonus reading material. If he or she is good enough to perform your annual physical, he or she can probably stir up a decent website for you.

Whether you are face to face with an unusual illness or just interested in the medical field of science, know where you can go for dependable facts. There are intelligent resources all across the World Wide Web wanting to share knowledge with you whenever you are in a pinch. Use the above list as your health-on-the-Internet safety guide and focus more on fixing what ails you.