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Finding Reliable Health Information Online

Finding Reliable Health Information Online

The Internet contains a rather large number of information sources that may not be accurate. This presentation informs the public on how to decide if a health related website contains reliable information and if the information applies to their particular cases. We explore ways to define a resource as reliable based on purpose of the information, date and original source that provides it.


Critical Path Project

April 05, 2012


  1. FINDING Reliable HEALTH information online Where to go and what

    to look for
  2. First Things First • What are you looking for? ▫

    General information? ▫ Learn about a specific condition? ▫ Learn how to prevent an infection? ▫ Find out how many people have it? ▫ Learn about treatment options? ▫ Find emotional support?
  3. The Internet Is… • A great source of information •

    A great source of communication • A great source of connecting with other people with similar interests
  4. The Internet Is NOT… • Private • Clean ▫ Malware

    ▫ Viruses ▫ Spyware • Free of Misinformation ▫ Scams ▫ False Advise ▫ Misleading Advertising
  5. Not Everything Online Is Trustworthy ▫ Some information is outdated.

    ▫ Some information is inaccurate. ▫ Some information is false or misleading. You don’t believe everything you hear, right? Don’t believe everything you read online either.
  6. So how do we know where to look? • WHO

    the information comes from? • WHY was that information published? • WHEN was the information posted? • HOW clear is the information? • HOW is the information laid out?
  7. Where the information comes from? Is it a recognized organization?

    Can the information be verified? Do qualified health professionals provide the information? Is clear and transparent contact information provided?
  8. Example of Bad Contact Information Claims that cures AIDS Address

    is a P.O. Box An unknown, unrecognized company
  9. Example of Good Contact Information Known by the medical community

  10. Example of Good Contact Information Known, reputable organization Clear address

  11. What is the purpose of the website? • To promote

    products or a point of view? • Provide reliable information? • Are there links to additional information?
  12. Example of A Site for a Specific Drug It’s only

    about this drug Useful only when the drug is prescribed
  13. Example of A Site for a Specific Drug Doesn’t say

    that is medical information Accurate information but limited to marketing the drug.
  14. Example of an Opinion Page Anyone can create a blog

    or website Provides personal experiences, not medical information
  15. Example of a Forum/Answer Page Answered by the general public,

    not by medical professionals.
  16. Example of a Forum/Answer Page Contain personal opinions and answers,

    many of which are biased or inaccurate.
  17. Example of a Forum/Answer Page Even if you were asking

    a real doctor, you cannot get medical advice online.
  18. How current is the information? • When was the site

    created or updated? • When was the information presented collected? • Are the links kept up to date?
  19. Reliable Websites Include Dates Reputable organizations often date the information

    they post.
  20. The Clarity of the Website Matters • Is the information

    presented objectively? • Is the purpose of the website clearly stated? • Who sponsors the website?
  21. Personal Stories are Not Objective Info Personal experiences are different,

    and they are not medical information.
  22. Good Websites Clearly State Their Purpose Websites should state the

    purpose of the information presented
  23. A Good Website Should be Presentable • Is the site

    organized, easy to navigate? • Does the website provide space for answers and feedback?
  24. In Summary, Check… • The date of the information •

    The contact information • Where the information comes from • The credentials of the author