Ten Online Health Resources to Recommend to Patients

Dr. Google’s not all bad. But even if you’re sold on the 24/7 availability of healthcare information online, the never-ending breadth of data out there is actually part of the problem. How are patients to find and discern what is truly valuable from it all?

By recommending the following resources to patients, you and your staff can both encourage patients to be self-empowered and deter them from being taken advantage of by (sometimes purposefully) inaccurate online advisers. Topping the list is MedlinePlus, by the U. S. National Library of Medicine of the National Institutes of Health

Google is merely a search engine. The problem is that there is nothing to discriminate between good and bad sites. Furthermore, the “bad” sites are probably more adept and do more to get hits that those sites with good information, so they come out on top of the Google hits list! While there have been proposals to grade various medical sites, nothing like that has ever been implemented. Many of the sites with bad info, furthermore, are well-intentioned, just wrong. Unless you have a good background in medicine, there just is not any way to even begin discriminating between different sites. It is up to medical professionals to help their patients obtain correct, quality information. As things currently stand there is not even a mechanism to sue a “bad” site for misinformation that resulted in harm to a patient. More attention needs to be paid to this important arena. There has been little, if any, improvement on medical information on the internet even in the few years since I published an article on the subject in Wisconsin Lawyer! Philip M. Kober, JD, MD, PhD.

Are your patients relying too much on inaccurate information from Dr .Google? Here are some resources to recommend that will help steer them in a better direction. The National Network of Libraries of Medicine recommends several resources.

Resources:

 HHS estimates about one-third of Americans have limited health literacy, defined by the Institute of Medicine as “the capacity to obtain, process, and understand basic health information and services needed to make appropriate health decisions.”

For that reason, it’s critical to provide patients with health resources that provide vetted, easy-to-read, and easy-to-understand information.

 

Source: physicianspractice.com

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