March 7, 2017

Being A Savvy Consumer of Online Medical Information

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You just left your doctor’s office after having been diagnosed with let’s say, Lyme disease.  As soon as you are home, you go online to learn more about the disease before your next appointment.  A quick search turns up more sites that you could ever imagine.  But what’s reliable and what’s not?
Evaluating online medical information is tricky.

Here’s a checklist from Medline Plus to help you evaluate a site:

Look at the provider.
– Who is in charge of the Web site?
– Why are they providing the site?
– Can you contact them?

Look at the funding.
– Where does the money to support the site come from?
– Does the site have advertisements? Are they labeled?

Where does the information on the site come from?
– How is content selected?
– Do experts review the information that goes on the site?
– Does the site avoid unbelievable or emotional claims?
– Is it up-to-date?

How do they handle privacy?
– Does the site ask for your personal information?
– Do they tell you how it will be used?
– Are you comfortable with how it will be used?

Answering these questions will help you make sure you have good information. Then, talk over what you learned with your medical provider. Patient/provider partnerships lead to the best medical decisions.

To see the complete tutorial about evaluating medical information on line, go to:  https://medlineplus.gov/webeval/webeval.html

LogoMedline Plus is the creation of the National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health. It’s a great place to find information about diseases, conditions, and wellness issues in language you can understand.  It’s reliable, up-to-date information and free

You can find a link to it on our site at http://peterboroughtownlibrary.org/research/

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Author: Mary Hubbard
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