The internet has become a source for a lot of information; anything that you want to know the answer to can be found by simply using a search engine.
People have also found it a lot easier to access health information online, at least until they can see a professional, or to find out whether the health issue they are facing requires immediate attention or can wait until you schedule an appointment with your physician.
The problem is, how do you ensure that the information you found online is accurate?
Look for these seven things when trying to find health information online, to ensure that you are getting information that is as accurate as possible.
1. Look for Sites Meant to Be Used by Professionals
There are thousands of websites online that have medical information. This doesn’t mean that they can all be trusted.
If you want to get credible medical information, you could start by looking for websites used by professionals, such as doctors, nurses, and pharmacists.
This will ensure that the information provided by the website is trustworthy.
If you are always looking for information about medicines and it is not easy getting in touch with a pharmacist every time, then you can just ask him or her about a credible website that will help in finding your best choice for the information you are looking for.
You will find different credible websites that have information about medicines, their ingredients, and their side effects which pharmacists like to use to keep track of old and new types of medication.
2. Check the URL
A website’s URL or address can tell you a lot about whether the information you find can be trusted or not.
For example, a website that has a URL ending in .edu or .gov then this means that the website is quite trustworthy, but if a website ends in .com or .net, you will need to take some further steps to ensure that the information on the website is actually accurate or not.
3. Information That Can Be Edited by Anyone Isn’t Credible
Sometimes, people visit webpages that claim to have medical and health information but they allow random people to edit the information.
This means that the information is totally and unequivocally unreliable and inaccurate.
If you ever find yourself looking for medical information and find information concerning what you are looking for on such a webpage, you need to cross-check any information you find because it is not to be trusted.
4. Check the Purpose of the Organization
Usually, a website that has medical information on it has a webpage with information about its purpose.
Sometimes, such websites will have a purpose to educate people about different medical cases and health information.
Other times, the website’s purpose to promote certain products, either medical or not.
If that is the case, then you shouldn’t trust the information that you find, because chances are they are trying to advertise certain products for you to use and are not concerned with your health and wellbeing.
5. Look at the Date of the Information
Sometimes, you will find a website that has passed all the above points but that doesn’t mean you should just trust the information on it.
Before taking the information for granted, you need to look for the date the information was posted on the website.
If the date is more than three years ago, you might want to check for the accuracy of the information on another website to ensure that the information is not too outdated.
Any website with medical or health information that is trustworthy is going to have credible references cited as evidence to where the information they have on the website came from.
If the website you are on has only one study as a reference for the information they are spreading, then you need to check the information on other sources or look for different studies online that support this information.
7.. Author Credentials
Another thing to look for when browsing for medical or health information is the author’s credentials.
This can also help you determine whether the information being said is credible or not. For example, an engineer shouldn’t be imparting medical advice to people.
If you are looking for information about medicine, look for information published by a pharmacist.
If you are looking for information about diseases or infections, you need to look for information authored by a doctor.
Using these seven checkpoints, you are going to be able to make sure that the information you have found online is credible and can be trusted.
If you still have doubts, even after checking the credibility of the source, then you need to contact your physician for more information and to check the validity of the information presented.
For the time being, you can rest assured that you have the checklist needed to get the most reliable information found online about whatever medical condition or information you are searching for.