Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Health Information on the Internet

There is a glut of health information to be found on the internet and it is sometimes difficult to gauge which of these websites contain the most accurate information. On our website, you can now find a comprehensive guide to the best health related websites on the internet. The types of websites range from doctor locators to social networks to blog directories. More and more people are turning to the internet to research their health conditions, find licensed and highly rated doctors, and interact with people all over the country dealing with similar health issues. Though approaching health research can be overwhelming, armed with APL’s new guide and the below listed pieces of advice, you should be off to a good start.

1. Analyze the make up of a web address and be wary of addresses that end in a .com. .Com usually denotes a commercial organization’s website. .Org, .gov, and .edu represent non-profit organizations, government offices and departments, and educational institutions, respectively. Knowing more about the type of organization that has created a website will help you decide how credible the information being provided is. Also, looking for an About Us or similar section on the website will reveal more about the creators of that website.

2. By joining a health related social network you can discuss treatments, doctor advice, and more with others experiencing similar health issues. By locating a blog pertaining to your health condition you can find advice, read about new developments, and interact with the medical professionals or patients who write it.

3. If you’ve decided to look into the medical literature (articles written about various subjects pertaining to the medical profession), only worry about reading the Introduction and the Discussion/Conclusions sections of each article. This will help you get to the gist of the article without having to stumble over the more technical aspects. Also, search for review articles that synthesize the literature for you and make your research a little easier.

4. Use "Deciphering Medspeak", a publication by the Medical Library Association, to help you understand any medical jargon you might come across.

5. Finally, when using our new guide be sure to look for the top 10 most useful health websites, denoted by an *, as selected by the Medical Library Association.

And, as always, the librarians here at APL are available every day of the week to answer any questions you might have about health information on the internet.

No comments: