When you have a question about you or your family’s health, you might find the answer on the internet.
When you do so, search for specialized information on expert sites to avoid questionable or even false content. But how can you tell the difference? The website, MedlinePlus offers some tips on how to address this issue:
- Use websites from reputable medical institutions. Medical schools, professional healthcare organizations and hospitals often provide on-line healthcare content.
- Web addresses that end in “.gov,” “.edu” or “.org” are reliable sources. An address that ends in “.gov” means that the website is run by a government organization, “.edu” means that it is an educational institution, and “.org” means that a professional agency runs the website. An address that ends in “.com” means that it is run by a for-profit company.
- Find out who wrote or edited the information. Seek out the content that has been approved by healthcare providers such as doctors, nurses or other licensed practitioners. Also, see if there is an editorial policy, which provides an explanation of where or how the website gets its information.
- Choose scientific resources. Peer review journals are good resources. These include the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) and the New England Journal of Medicine. Recent editions of medical textbooks are also good sources.
- Check for the website’s contact information.
- Verify how old the published content is. Even reliable websites can include outdated information in their collection.
- Do not base your information on just one website. Compare with others.
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