|Health information on the internetOne of the commonest reasons for people to go on-line today is to seek information related to health. Indeed, some analysts estimate that up to 65 million Americans searched the internet in 1999 for health-related information.
Numbers like this attract entrepreneurs. Consequently, health-related web sited are springing up like mushrooms. Some of these sites are excellent, while others are loaded with misleading or completely inaccurate information.
YourDoctorintheFamily.com. does not pretend to have intimate knowledge of the many thousands of health care sites on the web, so the following list is not meant to be at all comprehensive. Instead, it is meant to provide a starting point. We provide links to three general types of health-related sites: Sites providing general health-related information; sites related to health care policy; and sites related to bioethics.
|These websites are ones we’ve found useful, unique, or both. The information provided on these sites, we believe, is generally well-balanced and reasonably accurate. All these sites provide links to even more sites; starting from here can lead to a virtual never-ending voyage in the wonderful world of internet health.
Sites providing general health-related information
Commercial websites – These are for-profit websites. Their income generally comes from advertisers or from services they offer to “health care providers” (i.e., business to business), and all are free to patients. While they generally offer accurate, non-biased information to patients, one should keep in mind that blatantly anti-establishment opinions will be relatively unlikely on these sites.
WebMD – Its “consumer area” provides generally accurate and well-written summaries on medical and health care information, and news reports.
DrKoop – Another well-done commercial website with several useful and relatively unique areas, such as health risk calculators, and information on choosing health insurance.
Medscape – Affiliated with CBS news, this site is particularly strong on providing health care news, but also provides links to lots of medical information.
Adam – A consumer-oriented health site with a strong multimedia instructional library, and a strong community/chat presence.
Non-commercial websites – These are non-profit web sites. With all non-profit organizations, of course, one must be alert to the possibility that a political or public relations mission might “inform” the public service mission. However, we believe the information on the following sites is generally unbiased and accurate.
Mayo Clinic Health Oasis – Site operated by the Mayo Clinic; oriented toward patients, and providing top-notch health care information.
Health on the Net Foundation – An international foundation dedicated to providing links to all health-related internet resources. A good place to start researching a particular medical question.
Sites related to health care policy
Health Hippo – Truly unique site with extensive links to all sorts of information related to health care policy.
Sites related to bioethics
Bioethics.net – Site of the University of Pennsylvania Bioethics Center.