A survey conducted in September 2012 by the Pew Research Center found that 72 percent of Americans had used the Internet in the past year to look for health information. Most of those people begin their search within a search engine like Google and end up with thousands of results. The hard part is figuring out which websites provide up-to-date and credible information.
As part of our Be a Prepared Patient resources, we offer recommendations and advice on how to identify trustworthy health information websites.
Part of identifying a trustworthy health website is being aware of who is putting the content out and what advertisements are on the websites for products and drugs. Family physician Kenny Lin, M.D., recommends looking for the Health on the Net Foundation logo, which indicates that the website has been certified by an independent, quality rating organization. He also recommends thinking about these three questions when searching:
- Where did this information come from?
- How current is this information?
- Who is responsible for the content of this website?
For more information, see our Be A Prepared Patient resource, What Makes a Good Health Website?
What Are Some Trusted Websites?
The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality created Healthcare 411, a news series which offers weekly podcasts on evidence based information and news enabling people to play an active role in their health and health care.
The American College of Physicians (ACP) Foundation through Health TiPS has created an easy to understand guide about a variety of health topics including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), depression, hypertension, smoking, and vaccine information. Information is available in printable one-page forms in English and Spanish allowing you to fill it out and take it to your doctor's appointment.
Healthfinder.gov managed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services also has a variety of health topics, and general information.
For more websites, see our Be A Prepared Patient resource, Trusted Online Health Resources