The days are gone when patients had to wait for hours and hours to meet the physician, call the physician’s office or leave a message at the front desk. In this new era, health info is just a mouse-click away. A simple research on the topic online will provide the user with a lot of information. Typically, people search for medical information online in order to gain more awareness of a particular medical topic and to take informed decisions in case they are considering treatment for a related condition.
According to a recent survey by two New York based companies, U.S patients are educating themselves online by spending 52hours annually, looking for health information on the web. Pew Research Center reports that 35% of U.S adults have gone online at some time or other to find out about particular medical conditions they or someone else may have.
But is all information available online reliable? It is crucial to depend only on reputable websites that provide accurate information on all medical conditions, treatments available for the condition and help the users find the right surgeon or physician to treat the condition.
The sources each user relies on to find information vary according to the type of user. Users searching for health information need not necessarily be patients requiring treatment; it can be medical students, researchers or even those who may be browsing just out of curiosity.
Ideal Sources for Health Information
There are healthcare websites that provide valuable and reliable information related to health. For instance, if you are looking for details on a plastic surgery procedure, consider websites such as “surgery.org” or “plasticsurgery.org” for trustworthy information regarding various types of plastic and reconstructive procedures and also to locate reputable plastic surgeons. The former is the website of The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), a leading professional organization of plastic surgeons who specialize in cosmetic plastic surgery and are certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. Its mission includes medical education, public education and patient advocacy. It has more than 2,600 members in the United States, Canada, and many other countries. “plasticsurgery.org” is the website of The American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), the largest plastic surgery specialty organization in the world. It represents more than 94 percent of all board-certified plastic surgeons in the United States who perform cosmetic and reconstructive surgery. Millions of people visit this website for education and information.
In the United States “health.gov” and “healthfinder.gov” are government websites maintained by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that offer comprehensive health information for individuals and families. Health conditions and diseases, doctor visits, nutrition and physical activity, everyday healthy living, pregnancy, and parenting are among the various topics covered. There are links provided to valuable healthcare websites.
Journals and health magazine websites also provide excellent health information.
There are reliable medical websites of reputable, experienced physicians that provide really informative content. These include websites of physicians belonging to various medical specialties – orthopedics, pain management, plastic surgery, cardiology, neurology and others. Apart from listing the treatments they offer, dedicated physicians also provide information in order to educate patients. Well-maintained and regularly updated healthcare websites act as great resources, especially for patients seeking specific medical services.
Choose the Right Source for Information
Here are some important points to consider.
- Is the website owned by a reputable healthcare center/reputable physician?
- What is the purpose of the website –selling any medical products or providing health info?
- Is the information regularly updated?
- Is there an option given to contact the author or the center?
- What information does the website collects from the visitors?