Finding and Evaluating Quality Health Information on the Internet

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Information about Finding and Evaluating Quality Health Information on the Internet
Health & Medicine

Published on October 22, 2014

Author: btransue



Presentation for Messiah College Wellness Program

1. Finding and Evaluating Quality Health Information on the Internet Beth M. Transue MLS MET Librarian, Messiah College Murray Library

2. Worst Case Scenario! • Dilbert Cartoon •

3. Who Searches for Health Info? • 59% of US Adults have looked online for health information in the past year. • 80% of online health inquiries start at a search engine such as Google. • 50% of health information searches are on behalf of someone else. Fox, S. & Duggan, M. Health Online 2013. Retrieved from

4. What Should I do with Health Information I find Online? • DO: • Increase understanding of health concern or disease • Use to improve overall health such as dietary recommendations • Prepare for appointments with HCP • Use to guide discussion and questions with HCP • Use for decision-making with your HCP • DO NOT: • Diagnose yourself • Change care plan put in place by your HCP. Talk to HCP instead • Scare yourself! You do NOT have Ebola! 

5. Search for Health Information • Google – Use Advanced Search • .gov • .edu • .org Search .org domain to find national organizations about your health concern

6. What About Wikipedia? • Anyone can edit a Wikipedia page – no medical peer review • 9 of 10 wikipedia articles about the 10 most costly medical conditions included significant medical information errors. • How to use Wikipedia for Health Information: • Don’t use the content, or use with caution • Use the bibliography and external links to find primary information and to verify Wikipedia content Hasty, R. T. ... et. al. (2014). Wikipedia versus peer-reviewed medical literature for information from 10 most costly medical conditions. J Am Osteopath Assoc. 114(5): 368- 73. doi: 10.7556/jaoa.2014.035

7. Evaluate Health Information • Consider: • Author/Organization – are they well known and trustworthy? • Currency (Date) – should be recent • Factual, not biased • No conflict of interest such as reviewing and selling a health product • Audience – look for “consumer health” information.

8. Selected Resources • Messiah College Wellness Resources Page • MedlinePlus – general health and disease information • Drugs and Supplements • Drug Interaction Checker • Nutrition and Diets • Environmental Health

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