Healthy Searching

November 14th, 2011

In case you didn’t notice, it SNOWED last week!  This also means we’re entering cold and flu season; and it means you’re likely going to be “Google-ing” your symptoms.  Don’t try to deny it!

I recently took an online course from the Reference & User Services Association (RUSA) on Health Information Literacy; which means understanding where to find good health information and how to evaluate it once you’ve located it.  In addition to the excellent health related databases mentioned in last week’s blog, if you decide to search the web for information here are a few RUSA recommends:

HealthfinderDeveloped by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Healthfinder links to carefully selected information and Web sites from over 1,500 health-related organizations. HealthLink PlusProvides links to credible health web sites. Their Ask-Us-Now feature provides real-time access to reference librarians to answer questions. Mayo ClinicMayoClinic.com offers a wealth of easy-to-understand health and medical information, in addition to diseases and conditions. Mayo Clinic experts review web site content for accuracy.
MedicineNet.comMedicineNet.com is owned and operated by WebMD and part of the WebMD Network.The content is produced and edited by a nationally recognized network of over 70 U.S. Board Certified Physicians. Web videos, daily health news, an email newsletter and a symptom checker are features. MedlinePlusMedlinePlus offers over 18,000 links to accurate and current medical information on the Internet that has been evaluated by the National Library of Medicine. Brief information is available in the Medical Encyclopedia with more in depth information on over 750 Health Topics. NetWellnessNetWellness, a non-profit consumer health web site, has been in operation for over ten years. Itprovides over 55,000 pages of high quality information created and evaluated by medical and health professional faculty at the University of Cincinnati, Case Western Reserve University and Ohio State University.

 This class also provided at “Top Ten” list for evaluating medical and health websites.  Drumroll please…..

  1. Who runs the site?
  2. Why have they created the site?  What is its purpose?
  3. What do they want from you?
  4. Who is paying for the site?
  5. Does the site’s information favor the sponsor?
  6. Is the information reviewed by experts?
  7. Where did the information come from?
  8. Does the site make unbelievable claims?
  9. Is it up-to-date? Is there a mechanism to contact the organization through its website?
  10. Do you need to register to access information, and what will happen to your personal information?

 Happy and Healthy Searching!

rusa mayo clinic