1 of 37

Slide Notes

DownloadGo Live

Kopie von Online Health Information

How to Find, Access and Understand Online Health Information: And how to communicate what you find to your health care professional.


Online Health Information

Finding, Accessing, Understanding & Communicating
Photo by hjl

Increasingly, people are getting their health information not from their doctors, but from magazines, TV or the Internet. Some of the information is reliable and up to date; some is not. How can you tell the good from the bad?

Facts about Health - Lingo.

Photo by eltpics

What is Evidence-Based Medicine?

  • "...the conscientious, explicit and judicious use of current best evidence in making decisions about the care of individual patients. ... [It] means integrating individual clinical expertise with the best available external clinical evidence from systematic research." Sackett 1996
Photo by photonburst

What do you mean by "Scientific"

  • Scientific, in this case, means both proven, and non-biased. Think about if you are being encouraged to buy a certain product or service? Many of companies sometimes include false scientific claims in order to encourage you to purchase their product.

What is Health Literacy

  • Health literacy is not your ability to read, or understand in a normal setting
  • It is specific to a person's ability to read, understand, communicate and use information related to health.
Photo by code poet

Facts about the internet

  • Nobody is in charge.
  • There are no rules or regulations
  • No professional qualifications are necessary
  • People lie.
  • Personal experience is very different than evidence-based.
  • You can't (always) trust statistics.
Photo by torkildr

Untitled Slide

  • .gov identifies a U.S. government agency
  • .com identifies commercial websites
  • .org usually identifies nonprofit organizations
  • .edu identifies education websites, like a university
  • .ca means the website is Canadian
Photo by walsweer

ABC's of information:

Photo by phil dokas

First, consider the source:
Is it from the government? A university, health organization, hospital, business, personal website?

Photo by thedescrier

Look for an Author. Does the author have credentials? Google the author to see if they are who they say they are. Is there a review process for posting on the website?

Look for a published date. You want something current, and ideally updated.

Photo by DafneCholet

Is your privacy protected? Is there a privacy policy? Do they ask you for personal information?

NEVER share your SIN, Address or phone number online, unless it is with a secure government organization. Some patient websites have places for you to talk about your health, but they should allow you to be anonymous.
Photo by Alan Cleaver

Is there a clear way to reach the sponsor - About us, contact us?

Photo by nur_h

The Health On the Net Foundation has elaborated the Code of Conduct to help standardize the reliability of medical and health information available on the Internet.

Look for websites that have the Hon Code - usually at the bottom of the page. It's a governing body that gives guidance http://www.hon.ch/HONcode/Patients/.

As they say:

"The HONcode is not an award system, nor does it intend to rate the quality of the information provided by a Web site. It only defines a set of rules to:
- hold Web site developers to basic ethical standards in the presentation of information;
- help make sure readers always know the source and the purpose of the data they are reading."

Good rules of thumb

  • Don't search the entire internet. Choose 3-5 sites and stop.
  • Evaluate for content - constantly.
  • Make sure information is less than 3 years old
  • Look for credentials

Be skeptical. Things that sound too good to be true often are. You want current, unbiased information based on research.

Guiding Principles

  • Government Websites are a good place to start
  • Use the Rule of 3
  • Large Professional bodies are also good
  • Hospital websites are also a good thing to use.
Photo by Artotem

Good Websites

  • Mayo Clinic
  • Cleveland Clinic
  • Drugs.com
  • National Institute of Health
  • Medline Plus
  • Patients like me

How do you solve a problem like Wikipedia?

Wikipedia probably has more accurate information than you think, and is often good with updating. The PROBLEM with wikipedia is it is not written for a lay-audience, and is not written in a clear and understandable way.

90% of medical students use Wikipedia, and often it's written for that audience.


  • Watch out for Dr. Oz & other predatory Doctors. They may be experts in their field, but they aren't in every field.
  • Be cautious when someone is trying to sell you something - anything.
  • Be Aware that personal experiences are just that - personal.
Photo by sebilden


  • Natural doesn't mean healthy.
  • The same treatment can work differently for everyone
  • Big words are just that - Big Words. They don't mean there is proof.
  • Think before you act.
  • Don't just look for information that agrees with what you think.
Photo by katerha

How to talk to your doctor

First, ask yourself about a new Cure:

  • Where was this cure tested? People? Animals? In a lab?
  • How many people like you was it tested on?
  • Was it done in a double blind randomized control trial?
  • Are the reports in line with things you have heard before, in other places.
  • Does it cure you? Miraculously?
Photo by Claudio.Ar


  • Be Honest. Really.
  • Tell them Everything.
  • Print off the website you have questions about, with questions.
  • Ask more than one Health Care Professional.
Photo by Marc Wathieu

Write down questions, and ask them.

Photo by Eleaf

Bring someone with you.

Photo by naotakem

Take notes - this will help you with questions next time.

Learn about your medical records - ask for them if you want.

Photo by benben

Don't ever be embarrassed.

Photo by -Reji

Don't assume the doctor, pharmacist or nurse remembers anything (but I promise they try!)

Photo by Libelul

In conclusion...

Photo by scragz

You might have to talk to different people. Pharmacists & Nurses are great resources.

Please do not ask a librarian.

Speaking as a Librarian - Most librarians don't have the knowledge, clinical or otherwise to answer your questions.
Photo by julochka

Despite everything, don't be scared to look, and try.

Don't be afraid to walk away, and then come back.

Photo by Omar Omar


Photo by Stefan Baudy