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Three Reasons Why
...Wikipedia is NOT an Appropriate Resource for Consumer Health Information
1. Anyone can write entries or add information to Wikipedia. The content is not necessarily created by experts in the field and may not be accurate.
2. There is no regulation as to how often Wikipedia pages are updated. The information provided could be out of date.
3. Wikipedia entries are not written with the consumer in mind. They often contain technical terms and very scientific content.
For more information on evaluating Health Information on the Web, see Medline Plus's Guide to Health Information
Look for the HONcode
When evaluating a website, look for the HONcode at the bottom of the page. The Health on the Net Foundation is a non-profit organization whose mission is to evaluate online health information. If a website applies for certification and meets the criteria set up by this organization, it is given a HONcode seal which is displayed on the website's footer.
Click here for more information about the HONcode.
Evaluating Health Information from the Web
The Internet is where most people go to find health information. When working with the public, take the opportunity to teach them how to evaluate which health resources they can trust.
When evaluating health information, look at the following factors:
To learn more about evaluating health information review the following resources:
Consumer Health Resources
The premier consumer health information website created by the National Library of Medicine. It should be the first stop for all your consumer health questions (available in Spanish)
CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention)
A division of the Department of Health and Human Services. The CDC is dedicated to promoting "health and quality of life by preventing and controlling disease, injury, and disability." Of special interest to the consumer are the resources about diseases, conditions, and other special topics arranged under "Health Topics A-Z," and "Travelers' Health," with health recommendations for travelers worldwide. There are also sections on health topics in the news and health hoaxes. Information is also available in Spanish.
Information on current and past clinical trials worldwide. Maintained by the U.S. National Institutes of Health.
Drugs, Supplements, and Herbal Information in MEDLINEPlus
Find information on both prescription and over-the-counter drugs, including side effects and dosage. (Available in Spanish)
Genetics Home Reference
Easy-to-read information about genetics and genetic disorders.
Maintained by the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Access to resources on the site is also available in Spanish.
Multilingual information about health conditions and other topics related to wellness.
An evidence-based consumer and patient health site developed by the German Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care.
Provides doctor-approved health information about children from before birth through adolescence. Created by The Nemours Foundation's Center for Children's Health Media, KidsHealth provides families with accurate, up-to-date, and jargon-free health information they can use.
Provides quality health information written for the general public.
U.S. Food and Drug Administration
Home Page for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Finding Consumer Health Information from Library Databases
Some library databases contain patient education handouts that are written at a 3rd to 4th grade reading level. Try using the following resources to find consumer information on drugs or diseases:
Drug compendium to fulfill the drug reference requirements for licensed pharmacies and to determine the appropriate use of drugs and biologics for cancer patients.
Note:For full access, first register for an account. Then, send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org indicating that you have registered and require a link for full access.
Facts & Comparisons eAnswers
Provides information on drugs, drug interactions, natural medicines and drug news updates, and also contains handouts for patient education, counseling, and drug therapy management.
Provides point-of-care drug information from 13 clinical databases and 4 clinical applications. Databases include Lexi-Drugs, Pediatric Lexi-Drugs, and Geriatric Lexi-Drugs as well as Clinician's Guides to Diagnosis, Internal Medicine and Laboratory Medicine. Clinical Applications include drug interactions, tablet & capsule identification, medical calculations and patient advisory leaflets.
A comprehensive database collection which contains resources on drug information, alternative therapies, emergency medicine and protocols, toxicological management, and patient care handouts. It is used to support clinical decision-making and high-quality patient care.