How to evaluate health Web sites
Use reliable sources. Search engines do not always list the most
reliable source of health information as top results. Make sure to assess the
site when you get there before digging deeper. Use directories such as
the National Institutes of Health's MEDLINEplus (www.medlineplus.com);
which review Web sites before entering them into the directory.
Consult your physician. Use online health information responsibly by
consulting your health care professional about what you find.
Know the purpose of what you read. Conflicts of interest do exist
online. Make sure you know whether health information was developed to
promote products or services. Well-run health sites clearly distinguish
advertising and promotional content from health information.
Check the credentials of health content authors. The best health Web
sites provide extensive information on the credentials of authors and
information on the source of scientific evidence used to develop health
Know how health information was developed. A well-run health Web site
will post editorial policies of the process involved in clinically
reviewing health information.
Know the credentials of medical service providers. When receiving
services online, make sure you know when you are consulting a medical
professional. Insist that you be informed of the medical professional's
credentials before you interact.