What Makes a Good Health Website?

The Internet can be a gold mine for health information seekers, but separating the helpful and accurate from the inaccurate and downright dangerous can be a daunting task. Here's what you're looking for: information that's based on scientific evidence and information that comes from an unbiased source.

For example, it's probably not a good idea to get arthritis advice from the makers of a new pill promising a 3-day cure for arthritis. Also, information should be regularly updated with dates provided and vetted by a neutral third party. It may sounds like a lot to look for, but the resources below can point you in the right direction:

The National Institutes of Health's MedlinePlus has a guide to "healthy" Web-surfing.

The Medical Library Association (MLA) offers advice on evaluating health Web sites and recommends top ten websites for cancer, diabetes and heart disease information.

CAPHIS, a section of the Modern Language Association, also maintains a top 100 list of best health websites.

The National Cancer Institute's fact sheet about evaluating health information on the Internet offers tips for determining whether a website is potentially biased, unreliable, or out of date.

Health Compass, a site from the American Federation for Aging Research and the Merck Institute of Aging and Health, can help older people navigate the Internet for health information.

The Health on the Net Foundation has created a code of conduct (HONcode) that spells out rules for maintaining reliable and credible health information Web sites. Sites that abide by these rules can receive a HONcode seal of approval.

Resources reviewed June 2013

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