The internet has made it much easier for many people to have access to a wealth of information, especially information
about their health. However, as anyone who has searched a particular ache or pain knows, the internet isn’t always the best place to go for information about your body. There is such a wide variety of information available, and it can be hard to discern what individuals or websites are reputable, and which ones are not.
One frequent source of information for some of our patients is blogs, online discussion forums, and even social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Places like these can often help you feel less isolated and it can be reassuring to talk to others who know what you are going through, depending upon your medical concern. However, often times the individuals giving advice in these places are not medical professionals so their knowledge only comes from experience. It is important to be cautious because everyone has a different body and medical history to take into consideration. What treatment worked for your friend, coworker or cousin may not be the best for you. This is why it is important to discuss your healthcare concerns with your doctor.
When evaluating a website or source of information, consider the following:
- Who: Who wrote the information you are reading?
- When: When was the information written? Was it posted recently, and if not, has it been updated recently?
- Where: Where did the information come from? Does the article reference medical journals or trusted medical organizations, or is it anecdotal or not scientifically backed?
- Why: Why was the information written? Is it a website affiliated with a product or company, and app selling ad space, or a blog article written to promote a specific item or service?
If you can answer the questions above and establish that the information you are reading was written by a reliable source (such as a doctor or other medical professional), written or updated recently, cites reliable and trusted resources, and was written without the intent to sell you something, then you can be reasonably confident that you are receiving reliable information. However, it is always best to talk to your doctor before beginning any new treatment or medications. If you come across information on the internet that you would like to discuss, our physicians are always here to offer their professional opinion, and are just a phone call away 352-332-7222!