Online Health Information: Is It Reliable?
Many older folks have a shared concern: “How can I trust the health information I discover on the Internet?” said the majority of them. There are tens of thousands of medical websites to choose from. Some of them give trustworthy health information. Some people do not. Some of the medical news is current at the time of writing. Some of it is, and some of it is not. Finding trustworthy health information websites is a vital step in getting accurate health information.
Where Can I Find Reliable Health Information Online?
A good place to start when looking for trustworthy health information is the National Institutes of Health website. As a general rule, health websites supported by federal government agencies are reliable sources of information on health issues. By visiting, you will be able to access all of the Federal websites. Additionally, large professional organizations and well-known medical institutions may be excellent providers of health information.
Questions to Ask Before Trusting a Website
If you do a search online, you are likely to come across websites for a variety of health agencies and organizations that are not well-known in the community. You should be able to find out more about these websites if you answer the questions in the following paragraphs correctly. A great deal of this information may be found in the “About Us” section of the website.
1. Who sponsors/hosts the website? Is that information easy to find?
Website development and maintenance are expensive endeavors. Is it apparent who the source of financing (sponsor) is? If you are aware of who is supporting the website, you may be able to gain insight into the aim or goal of the website. The website address (also known as a URL) might be useful in certain situations. As an illustration:
- There are many different types of domain names.gov is used to identify a United States government agency
- .edu is used to identify an educational institution such as a high school, college, or university
- .org is used to identify nonprofit organizations (such as professional groups, scientific, medical, or research societies, and advocacy groups)
- And.com is used to identify commercial websites (such as businesses, pharmaceutical companies, and sometimes hospitals).
2. Who wrote the information? Who reviewed it?
The names of the authors and collaborators are frequently, although not always, included. If the author’s name is mentioned, consider whether or not this individual is an expert in the topic. Are these individuals employed by an organization, and if so, what are the objectives of that organization? Connections to the website and any financial interests a contributor may have in the material on the website should be made apparent to all visitors to the website. Do you know whether the health information has been authored or evaluated by a medical professional?
The sponsor or writers of a trustworthy website will include contact information that you may use to get in touch with them directly.
When it comes to testimonials, use caution.
Another distinction is the difference between a website, blog, or social media page created by a single individual with a great interest in a topic and one built with the help of solid research and scientific proof (that is, information gathered from research).
No amount of information should take the place of consulting with a doctor or other health expert who can provide you with advice tailored to your individual circumstances.
3. When was the information written?
Look for health-related websites that are up to date with their information. You don’t want to make decisions regarding your health care based on information that is no longer current. A date will frequently be seen at the bottom of the page. It is possible that various pages on the same site will be updated at different times, with some pages being updated more frequently than others. Although older material is not worthless, it is advisable to utilize the most up-to-date, evidence-based information available.
4. What is the purpose of the site?
What was the motivation for the creation of the website? Understand the motivation or objective of the website in order to make a more informed judgment on its content. Is it the goal of the site to inform or to explain something? It’s either that or it’s attempting to sell you something. Instead than relying on one person’s viewpoint, choose knowledge that is supported by scientific facts.
6. How can I protect my health information?
If you are requested to provide personal information, make careful to figure out how the information will be used before providing it. Secure websites that collect personal information in a responsible manner have a “s” after the ” in the beginning of their website URL (s:/) and frequently need you to create a login and password before you can access the website. AVOID giving away your Social Security number to just anybody. Learn why your phone number is required, how it will be used, and what will happen if you do not provide this information.
Rather than submitting this information online, you might want to try calling your doctor’s office or health insurance provider to provide this information over the phone.
- When browsing the Internet, use common sense to keep yourself safe. Do not click on links that you are not expecting. Hover your mouse cursor over a link to ensure that clicking on it will send you to a respectable web address
- Make your password difficult to guess. Include a variety of numbers, letters, and symbols in your composition. Change it on a regular basis
- When possible, use two-factor authentication to protect your data. It is necessary to utilize two distinct sorts of personal information to log into your mobile devices or accounts in order to do this. Entering sensitive information over a public Wi-Fi network that is not secure is not recommended. Included in this category is Wi-Fi that is not password secured
Keep in mind that the information you publish on social networking sites might be misused. Addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses are all examples of what might be included. Find out how you can keep your personal information safe.
7. Does the website offer quick and easy solutions to your health problems? Are miracle cures promised?
Caution should be exercised when visiting websites or dealing with businesses that claim a single treatment can cure a wide range of ailments. Questions should be raised about theatrical writing or remedies that appear too good to be true.
Check to see if there are any other websites that have the same content. However, just because a website contains a link to an established authority does not imply that the website has received the endorsement or support of the other institution.
Health and Medical Apps
Mobile medical applications (“apps”) are apps you can put on your smartphone. Health apps can help you track your eating habits, physical activity, test results, or other information. But, anyone can develop a health app—for any reason— and apps may include inaccurate or misleading information. Make sure you know who made any app you use. When you download an app, it may ask for your location, your email, or other information. Consider what the app is asking from you—make sure the questions are relevant to the app and that you feel comfortable sharing this information.
Social media platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, are online communities where individuals communicate with friends, family, and strangers.
Some of this information may be true, and some of it may not be.
Check the source of the information, and make sure the author is credible.
Trust Yourself and Talk to Your Doctor
When seeking for health information on the internet, use common sense and sound judgment. There are websites dedicated to practically every aspect of health, and many of them do not have any guidelines governing the quality of the information they give. Make use of the knowledge you may access on the internet as a tool to help you become better educated. Don’t rely on a single website and always double-check your sources. Before making any changes to your health care, talk with your doctor about what you’ve discovered.
Learn more about this topic in Spanish.
For More Information About Reliable Health Websites
Whenever you are seeking for health information on the internet, use common sense and good judgment. The internet contains websites devoted to practically every aspect of health, and many of them are unregulated, with no regulations governing the quality of the information they give. As one tool in your quest to become better educated, use the knowledge you may discover on the internet. Check your sources and don’t rely just on one website. Before making any changes to your health care, consult with your doctor about your findings.
The following is a Spanish-language explanation of the above subject matter.
How reliable is online health information?
Lorna Marsh, Senior Editor, contributed to this article. When it comes to accessing health information and, increasingly, healthcare, the internet has brought about a revolution. However, it can be difficult to distinguish between trustworthy internet health information and medical material that is not only incorrect, but also possibly hazardous. Due to the fact that nearly two-thirds of Brits consult Dr Google before consulting a healthcare professional, the credibility of health websites and mobile app material is critical.
As a result, how reliable is consumer health information, and how can we determine the difference between what is credible and what isn’t?
What is the need for reliable health information online?
This degree of accessible availability and control for users, particularly in a pandemic or post-pandemic environment, has the potential to be positively life-changing in principle. However, just as the internet may empower individuals by providing them with accurate knowledge, it can also have the opposite effect. The fact that this is happening is particularly concerning for people who are already feeling vulnerable and desperate for a solution to their health issues. There is no question that a plethora of excellent information, websites, and digital tools are available to assist individuals to take more control of their health and equip them with the appropriate knowledge are readily available.
Anyone with rudimentary expertise and financial resources may create a website with seemingly legitimate medical information that appears to be more authoritative than many certified medical websites.
Obviously, if we weren’t so sensitive to accepting untrustworthy internet health advice, this wouldn’t be such a big deal.
In addition, according to a recent poll, Brits prefer to actively seek health information rather than seeking guidance from a doctor or healthcare practitioner.
What is being done to ensure the reliability of health websites?
Google is changing its search ranking system as a result of worries over inaccurate or outright false health information being spread on the internet. With a view to protecting the general public from wild west cowboys, the world’s most popular search engine is attempting to place the most trustworthy physical and mental health information websites at the top of its search results pages. Your money or your life (YMYL) websites are the focus of Google’s efforts to identify page quality in terms of their criteria of competence, authority, and trustworthiness, according to the company (EAT).
Social media services such as Facebook are increasingly actively attempting to identify and remove false or misleading material.
Finding reliable information about health on the net
With the exception of the warning remarks, the internet may be a valuable source of health information, with a variety of resources that are dependable, accurate, and simple to understand.
Google’s EAT criteria allow consumers to evaluate any health-related content they encounter for expertise, authority, and trustworthiness by asking themselves a few basic questions, such as the following:
Precisely, the first question concerns attribution, and more specifically, if any health-related content is backed up by medical data and/or sanctioned by medical practitioners or other authorities. Many trustworthy internet resources list their scientific sources at the bottom of each page and indicate whether or not the healthcare information has been evaluated and approved by an expert.
In relation to the question of ‘Who?’ is the requirement for users to investigate the purpose of online health information resources. Support groups can be valuable, but be cautious of unmonitored viewpoints on health-related matters that are expressed in them. Is the website only or primarily intended to serve as a sales tool? This is a particular problem with websites that provide nutritional advice. Consumers should be cautious when purchasing these products and should ask if they are being offered supplements or a diet regimen.
Finding out when the health information or its sources were created, reviewed, or updated is also important to determine the validity of the material. If nothing else, the Covid-19 epidemic has demonstrated how quickly our understanding of health and medicine may evolve. Scientific research is continually being updated, regardless of the environment. Older research can be quite important, but it’s always a good idea to double-check to see if there’s anything newer that you can use.
What is the future of online health information?
While misplaced confidence in erroneous health information remains a problem, the public’s attitude toward the internet in 2021 will be considerably different from how they saw it even a few years ago. There is a rising awareness that internet health information should be questioned, as well as a growing inclination to examine online sources with care and skepticism. Individuals are increasingly relying on recommendations such as the measures listed above to ensure that the online health information they are consuming is reliable, up to date, and relevant to their own circumstances.
- Meanwhile, self-regulation by technology giants such as Google and Facebook is becoming more effective.
- Thrive, for example, has the knowledge to guarantee that online health information is not only credible, but also properly articulated and easily comprehended by the public at large.
- She is skilled at planning and implementing effective projects for a variety of audiences and companies, as well as crafting messages that have the ability to truly resonate with their target consumers.
- Alternatively, if you would like to discuss a project you are contemplating, please get in contact.
Find out how femitech and other digital platforms can help women overcome barriers to health care access by downloading our free white paper at the link provided below:
The Pros and Cons of Health Websites
In order to get health-related information, the majority of Americans turn to the Internet, with a third of them attempting to diagnose their symptoms based on what they read online. Fortunately, there are a plethora of trustworthy web resources providing accurate and up-to-date medical information. These websites can assist you in researching your medical concerns, understanding various treatment strategies, and making informed decisions regarding your medical care and treatment. On the other hand, there is a great deal of skewed, erroneous, and perhaps deadly material available on the Internet.
Even in this case, it is important to follow up with your primary care physician to ensure that you obtain an appropriate diagnosis.
Pro: Health Websites Can Help You Identify and Understand Your Medical Condition
Knowledge is a powerful tool. When it comes to basic information regarding our medical issues, the majority of us rely on the Internet and mobile health applications. Medical websites that are trustworthy and easy to navigate contain general, readily comprehensible information about symptoms, treatment choices, and common results. Online research may assist you in proactively identifying health problems, treating them with over-the-counter medications, and empowering you to make smart health-related decisions when utilized appropriately.
If over-the-counter medicines are beneficial, conducting an online search can save you money.
Pro: Online Health Forums Offer Emotional Support
The use of online support groups may be extremely useful for persons suffering from chronic diseases, and it can be especially good for people suffering from “invisible” ailments such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and multiple sclerosis (MS). Because you don’t have any evident physical signs, your friends and family may be unable to comprehend your everyday fight with depression. Speaking with others who understand your situation may be comforting and can assist you in dealing with your symptoms more effectively.
Con: Nothing Beats Personalized Advice and Treatment From Your Doctor
While researching your symptoms online can assist you in identifying possible medical conditions, your doctors (as well as government agencies such as the Social Security Administration) will never base their treatment plans or determination of your eligibility for disability assistance on a self-diagnosis. When you consult with a medical expert, your diagnosis and treatment plans are based on the following criteria:
- • Your self-reported symptoms
- • Objective clinical results (such as information from magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), x-ray, and clinical tests)
- Medical studies and guidelines that are now available
- Understanding of your medical history and way of living
Despite the fact that medical artificial intelligence is continually expanding and improving, it will never be able to replace the expertise of your doctor. However, most patients do not have access to this sophisticated technology, at least not yet. Computer scientists are working on complicated neural networks that can identify and diagnose medical disorders, but most patients do not have access to this advanced technology. Instead, the vast majority of us enter our broad symptoms into a symptom checker on the internet.
According to the same study, doctors correctly identified the disease 72 percent of the time when they were given the same information as the patients.
It is clear that they are concerned about your health and well-being, yet they are continuously on the go, seeking to meet with each and every one of their patients in a prompt, caring, and courteous manner.
If you require additional time with your doctor, you may choose to do the following:
- Make a lengthier visit with your doctor and inform him or her in advance that you have a lot of questions
- Inquire with your doctor about the possibility of messaging him or her with more questions. The use of email or an online gateway to contact with your doctor is becoming increasingly common in modern medical practices. Find out from your doctor whether there are any seminars, support groups, or other services that can assist you in obtaining accurate and up to date information about the disease you have. Inquire about the availability of a patient advocate.
And, if nothing seems to be working, you might want to explore switching physicians. In certain cases, the relationship between a doctor and his or her patient just does not work.
Con: Online Health Research Can Lead to Unnecessary Anxiety
A search for symptoms such as nausea, fatigue, abdominal pain, and sore joints will yield results ranging from minor issues to life-threatening conditions. If you search for terms such as nausea, fatigue, abdominal pain, and sore joints, you’ll find a wide variety of possible diagnoses ranging from minor issues to life-threatening conditions. It is possible that while using an online symptom checker, you will have difficulty ruling out these differential diagnoses, which can result in heightened worry, dread, and anxiety.
Pain and other symptoms may be exacerbated as a result of your heightened worry.
Instead, seek medical attention as soon as possible.
And, given that laypeople only attain a 34 percent accuracy rate when utilizing internet symptom checkers, there’s a strong possibility that you’re in excellent condition.
Con: It Can Be Hard to Identify “Fake News”
Many sources of health information are available online, but most of it is erroneous, out of date, or prejudiced in some way. There are a plethora of health-related resources available on the internet, including:
- Alternative or holistic medicine proponents
- Drug and biomedical firms
- Hospitals and medical groups
- Government health agencies
- Non-profit organizations
- Professional associations
- Research institutes
- And others.
Not all of these sources have the same weight and reliability that the others do. Unfortunately, while Americans are becoming increasingly worried about “fake news,” they are not always able to distinguish erroneous health information.Before you rely on a health website, you should evaluate the following:
- Whether or not the website is operated by a recognized health professional, such as a government agency or hospital group
- Who wrote the piece and what are his or her qualifications are important questions to ask. Whether or not the article or website is promoting a product or service The statements made on the website are they backed up by peer-reviewed or clinical research? Is the website making unsubstantiated assertions or providing anecdotal evidence? When was the article written, and how long did it take? As medical research evolves rapidly, the information included in this page may be out of current. Is there an editorial board or a peer review mechanism in place on the website? Do the claims made in the article appear to be too good to be true?
Generally speaking, information from sites such as MedlinePlus and healthfinder.gov is trustworthy. Even well-regarded sites, such as the Cleveland Clinic, have been criticized for making medical claims that were not backed up by scientific evidence. When in doubt, it is always best to address your concerns with your doctors and other medical professionals.
Canopy Health Aims to Educate and Empower our Customers
Canopy Health understands that our clients require and deserve high-quality information and medical treatment, and we strive to provide them with both. Canopy Health is committed to informing and educating our consumers about medical advancements and services available to them in our community. Our members are served by a network of approximately 5,000 Bay Area medical professionals who provide patient-centered care to them throughout eight Bay Area counties. Please get in touch with us if you require further information about our services.
- In a diagnostic competition, doctors came out on top over internet symptom checkers.
- The information was obtained fromFinding and reviewing internet resources (2014, September).
- The Pew Research Center has published a report on health and technology in the United States.
M. Pasquale’s article was retrieved (2008, December 8). The psychological consequences of the pain experience. D. Summers’s article was retrieved (2017, January 11). At the Cleveland Clinic, there are troubling cases of “pseudoscience.” According to the Washington Post. It was retrieved from
Online health information – what can you trust?: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia
When you have a health-related question for yourself or your family, you may search it up on the Internet. There are several websites where you may obtain proper health information. However, you are going to come across a lot of stuff that is dubious, if not outright fraudulent. How can you identify the difference between the two? To locate reliable health information, you must first know where to seek and how to search for it. These suggestions may be of assistance. Information that you can rely on may be discovered with a little detective work.
- Look for the websites of well-known health-care organizations on the internet. Online health material is frequently provided by medical schools, professional health organizations, and hospitals
- Look for the words “.gov,” “.edu,” or “.org” in the site domain to confirm this. A website with a “.gov” address is one that is operated by a government agency. A “.edu” address signifies that the website belongs to an educational institution. A “.org” address, on the other hand, indicates that the site is administered by a professional group. A website with a “.com” address is operated by a for-profit organization. Despite the fact that it may still include some useful information, the content may be skewed
- Find out who authored or evaluated the information and how they came up with it. Look for health-care experts such as physicians (MDs), nurses (RNs), and other certified health-care providers. Also search for a policy on editorial content. If you read this policy, you will be able to find out where the site’s material comes from and how it is developed. Look for scientific sources to back up your claims. If the content is based on scientific findings, it will be more trustworthy. Professional publications are excellent sources of information. Journals such as the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) and the New England Journal of Medicine are examples of such publications. Recent versions of medical textbooks are also excellent sources of knowledge
- Look for the contact information on the website. Contact information for the site sponsor should be available by telephone, email, or a mailing address
- Regardless of where you locate the information, make sure to check how old it is. Even well-established websites may include material that is out of date. Content that is less than 2 to 3 years old should be sought after. Individual pages may include a date at the bottom of the page indicating when the page was most recently updated. Alternatively, such a date may be shown on the main page. Be cautious when participating in chat rooms and discussion groups. In most cases, the material of these forums is not checked or regulated in any way. Aside from that, it may come from persons who are not experts in the field or who are attempting to sell something to you. Do not rely just on a single website. Make a comparison between the information you discover on one website and the stuff on other websites. Check to see whether the facts you have obtained can be backed up by other websites.
When looking for health information on the internet, use caution and apply common sense.
- If something appears to be too good to be true, it almost certainly is. Keep an eye out for quick-fix solutions. Also keep in mind that a money-back promise does not imply that something is effective. It is crucial to use caution while providing personal information on any website, regardless of the kind. Don’t share your Social Security number with anyone. Before making a purchase, check to see if the website is using a secure server. The information on your credit card will be protected as a result of this. You can know by glancing at the box towards the top of the screen that contains the website’s domain name and address. Look for the phrase “tales are not scientific fact” at the beginning of the web URL. Just because someone asserts that their own health story is genuine, does not imply that it is true in every instance. Although this may be true, it is possible that the same treatment will not apply in your situation. Only your healthcare practitioner can assist you in determining the type of care that is most appropriate for you.
Listed below are a few high-quality resources to help you get started:
- The American Heart Association’s Heart.org website provides information about heart disease and measures to avoid illness. According to the American Heart Association, Diabetes.org provides information on diabetes as well as methods for preventing, managing, and treating the condition. Familydoctor.org is a website run by the American Diabetes Association. -familydoctor.org. Families should be aware of general health facts. This website is produced by the American Academy of Family Physicians and is located at healthfinder.gov. Health-related information in general. HealthyChildren.org is a website created by the United States Department of Health and Human Services. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention -. Information about health for people of all ages. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, NIHSeniorHealth.gov -. provides health information for older people. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) provided this information.
It’s fantastic that you’re looking for knowledge to assist you in managing your health. However, bear in mind that internet health information will never be able to completely replace a conversation with your clinician. If you have any questions about your health, your treatment, or anything you’ve read online, you should see your healthcare professional. Having the items you’ve read printed out and brought with you to your consultation might be very useful for you. Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Clinical Associate Professor, Department of Family Medicine, University of Washington Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, provided the most recent update.
Editorial staff examined the manuscript for accuracy.
The Pros and Cons of Online Therapy
Are you thinking about trying internet therapy? Internet-based mental health treatment has opened up new options for many people, but there are certain advantages and disadvantages to consider before deciding if online counseling is the best choice for you.
What Is Online Therapy?
Online therapy is a term used to describe psychotherapy or counseling services that are provided through the internet. Instead of meeting with a qualified therapist or counselor in person, online therapy allows you to interact with a therapist or counselor using any device that has an internet connection, such as a computer, tablet, or smartphone, instead. Besides internet treatment, teletherapy and e-therapy are two more names that are frequently used interchangeably with it.
Pros of Online Therapy
There are a variety of reasons why individuals choose online treatment over traditional therapy sessions. The following are some of the most significant advantages of using an online counseling service.
Online Therapy May Be as Effective
According to research, internet treatment for a variety of mental health issues can be equally as beneficial as in-person counseling for the same diseases. In one evaluation of research, it was discovered that online cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) was just as beneficial as in-person counseling in the treatment of mild to severe depression. Another study discovered that online cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) was just as beneficial as face-to-face CBT for panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, and generalized anxiety disorder.
Online counseling has even been demonstrated to be useful in the reduction of problem gambling behaviors in certain individuals.
Good Option for Remote Areas
People who live in rural or distant places can benefit from online counseling since it provides them with access to mental health services. For example, those who reside in rural regions may simply be unable to get any other kind of mental health therapy since there are just a few or no mental health practices in their area. People who are in need of assistance may find it difficult to travel large distances and take substantial time away from their hectic schedules in order to receive in-person counseling.
If you do not have dependable internet access, online therapy is not recommended.
Accessibility for People With Physical Limitations
Individuals who are handicapped or housebound might benefit from online counseling since it is accessible. When it comes to getting access to mental health care, mobility can be a significant barrier. A therapist working from their own home, for example, may not be able to provide services to clients of various abilities due to space constraints. Because of different reasons, such as physical or mental sickness, people who are unable to leave their homes may find internet therapy to be a valuable alternative to typical in-person psychotherapy settings.
Convenience and Affordability
Online treatment is frequently both reasonably priced and handy to use. Given that you will be participating in therapy sessions online from the comfort of your own home, you will be able to schedule your sessions at times that are most convenient for you. Today, many states require insurance providers to cover online therapy in the same way that they would cover traditional therapy sessions. If you have questions about whether or not e-therapy treatments are covered by your insurance coverage, you should contact your provider.
As a result, online therapists may frequently provide economical treatment choices for folks who do not have health insurance coverage.
Treatment Can Be More Approachable
The internet makes mental health care more accessible to people who need it. Even though people may feel comfortable sharing physical health-care difficulties with friends and family, they may not feel the same way about addressing mental health-care issues, which are equally as essential. The availability of online resources makes it simpler to transcend the stigma that has traditionally been associated with mental health disorders. Teletherapy may be a valuable tool in educating individuals about mental health and assisting them in their recovery.
Find out more about healthy habits and coping skills that can help you maintain or improve your psychological well-being in this section.
To benefit from professional counseling, you do not need to be suffering from a clinically diagnosed ailment, and internet therapy can be a convenient way to get started.
Cons of Online Therapy
While internet therapy has the potential to be extremely beneficial for people in some situations, it is not without its own set of dangers and drawbacks when compared to more traditional therapy methods.
Insurance Companies May Not Cover It
Your insurance coverage for e-therapy may be determined by the state in which you live and the type of insurance that you have. A number of insurance policies do not cover internet treatment, and a number of online mental health practitioners do not accept insurance as a payment method. When you pay for psychotherapy services out of your own money, the costs can mount up rapidly.
Some States Don’t Allow Out-of-State Providers
Many states do not allow psychologists who practice outside of their jurisdiction to give services. In such circumstances, your service provider would need to be licensed in both their home state and your home state in order to be effective. APA legal expert Deborah Baker said in an essay for the American Psychological Association’sMonitor on Psychology that certain states allow psychologists to provide out-of-state mental health services for a limited period of time, according to Baker. This normally only lasts for 10 to 30 days every year on average.
Confidentiality, Privacy, and Unreliable Technology
Maintaining the confidentiality of your personal information is a fundamental concern in psychotherapy, and online treatment adds another degree of difficulty. It is just as crucial to maintain patient confidentiality in online therapy as it is in more traditional types of treatment delivery. Because information is being communicated through the internet, privacy breaches and hacks are becoming more of a problem in this environment. Problems with technology might also make it difficult to receive care when you are in desperate need of it.
Lack of Response to Crisis Situations
Because internet therapists are located thousands of miles away from their clients, it can be difficult for them to respond swiftly and effectively when a crisis occurs. The ability of the therapist to give direct aid to a client who is suffering suicide thoughts or who has had a personal tragedy might be challenging, if not impossible in some cases.
Not Appropriate for Serious Psychiatric Illnesses
The use of e-therapy can be beneficial in a range of scenarios, but it is not recommended when it comes to persons who require close and direct treatment or in-person interaction. Unless you have other in-person therapies or treatments as part of your treatment plan, internet counseling may not be suggested if you have a major addiction or have more severe or complex symptoms of a mental health issue, for example. Because the breadth of online therapy can be limited, it may be ineffective for treating more complicated issues in some cases.
Overlooks Body Language
If you are undergoing text-based treatment, your therapists will not be able to observe your facial expressions, verbal cues, or physical movements. In many cases, these signals are highly informative, and they help the therapist to have a better understanding of your feelings, thoughts, moods, and actions. Certain communication techniques like voice over the internet technologies and video chats can provide a more accurate view of the issue, but they typically lack the closeness and intricacy that real-world encounters bring.
Ethical and Legal Concerns
Because online treatment does not have geographical restrictions, it makes it more difficult to maintain legal and ethical rules. Therapists can see clients from anywhere in the globe, and each state has its own set of license criteria and treatment protocols, which vary from one another. It is critical that you verify your therapist’s qualifications and expertise before you begin the therapy process with him or her.
A Word From Verywell
Online counseling may be a highly efficient and convenient method of obtaining mental health services for certain people. However, this does not imply that it is appropriate for everyone. The appropriateness of internet treatment for you will be determined by the severity of your symptoms and the nature of your medical condition. If you are considering trying online therapy, make sure you thoroughly investigate your alternatives before selecting an online treatment provider. Read the reviews, and don’t be hesitant to ask any questions you have about the product.
How to find reliable health information online
It might be really convenient to have access to so much information at your disposal. The internet may assist you in a variety of ways with the management of your disease. As an illustration:
- It is possible to look for and compare health services on the NHS website, including general practitioners (GPs), opticians, and support services for a variety of ailments. Some surgeries and hospitals will allow you to arrange and manage appointments online
- You can gain a better understanding of your illness and how it can be handled by supplementing the information your doctor has provided you
- You can save time by avoiding long lines at the doctor’s office. Apps to assist you in managing your health are becoming increasingly popular
- They can do things like order repeat prescriptions or track how far you’ve walked
- There are online forums and support groups for many health conditions, which allow you to share experiences with others who are in similar situations
- And there are mobile apps to help you manage your health.
Purchasing medicine via the internet might be unsafe. You should only make purchases from a legitimate internet pharmacy. Read the National Health Service’s advice on the dangers of purchasing medicine online.
Purchases of prescription medications on the internet might be fraught with difficulty. You should only make purchases from a legitimate, licensed online pharmacy website. To learn more about the risks of purchasing medication online, consult the National Health Service (NHS).
- The internet is a massive resource. When we entered the term diabetes into a search engine, we received 572 million hits — an incredible number! As a result, make an effort to narrow down your search. It’s possible that you’d like to clarify the kind of diabetes you have or the specific query you have, such as “medication for Type 2 diabetes”
- In order to find a precise term, such as “pain management programs” or “arthritis support groups,” use quote marks around it. Rather than using a broad search engine like Google to look for a service, such as a doctor or a counselor, look for it on the website of a relevant professional organization instead. As an illustration:
- You may get information on health-care services by going to the NHS website and clicking on the “Find services” link
- For talking therapies such as counselling, go to the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy website.
- If you’re looking for specific information, you might wish to restrict your search to sites in the United Kingdom. For example, if you’re looking for information about services or treatment options that are available to you, keep in mind that they may change depending on where you live.
Things to check
Medical advice evolves over time, so make certain that what you’re reading is up to current before acting on it. Some websites mention the date of publishing at the bottom of the page, while others do not.
Who has produced it?
Who wrote it, and why did they do so? For example, are they just attempting to pass on information, or do they have other objectives in mind, such as trying to sell you something?
Does it look professional?
Is it properly written and free of errors? Do the hyperlinks function properly?
Does it apply to me?
Even though you have the same medical condition as someone else, what is true for them may not be true for you. Is the author expressing an opinion based on their own personal experience, or is he or she declaring a fact and providing proof to support that statement?
Does it seem accurate?
Check to see if it has been endorsed by a reputable organization, such as the NHS. Check to see if it has been recognized as a source of reputable health information, such as by Health on the Net, or whether it adheres to broad principles outlined in the National Health Service content policy, among other things. Furthermore, you can hunt for information from well-known charity and government-sponsored organizations (look for websites ending in.gov). Is the information’s source information given, and do the sources appear to be reputable?
Cross-check the information with another website you trust or a printed source to be sure it’s accurate.
Never hesitate to talk with your doctor or a consultant if you are unsure about anything. Don’t make a life-altering medical choice solely on the basis of information found on the internet.
Evaluating Health Information
Health information may be incredibly beneficial, allowing us to make key health decisions with greater confidence. Health information, on the other hand, may be confusing and overpowering at times. Given the vast amount of information accessible through the Internet, journals, and other sources, it is critical to be able to evaluate the quality of such material. As a consequence of new research, health knowledge is always changing, and there may be several legitimate approaches to treating certain problems.
The legitimacy of internet material cannot be determined with absolute certainty, however there are several useful guidelines that may be used to judge its trustworthiness and correctness.
Is the Source Credible?
In an ideal world, content in a journal or on the Internet would be attributed to a specific source or author. Ask yourself if the source you are reading is likely to be fair, impartial, and free of hidden motivations when evaluating its credibility. If the answer is yes, then the source is credible. Examine the qualifications of the source to evaluate whether the author or organization have the necessary knowledge and training to give the information you want. When providing medical information, it is often more credible if the material is offered by a medical institution, an organization that brings together medically trained individuals, or a government health organization.
Additionally, providing contact information for the publisher or author in the form of a mailing address or phone number may increase the credibility of the material provided.
The Web URL contains a vital hint as to the identity of the publisher: http://www.publisher.com/.
- .edu A Web address that ends in “.edu” is published by an organization that is connected with an educational institution, such as a university
- A Web address that ends in “.gov” is published by a government entity. A domain name with the extension “.gov” indicates that the website belongs to a government agency
- A domain name with the extension “.org” indicates that the website belongs to a nonprofit organization. A domain ending in “.org” is associated with a non-profit organization
- A domain ending in “.com” is associated with a commercial enterprise. A domain name with the extension “.com” belongs to a for-profit organization.
To conclude, while determining credibility, take into consideration the following factors:
- Who was responsible for disseminating the information
- The writers’ names are given below. What qualifications do they have? Is there a hidden motive on the part of the authors? Is the information subjected to peer review?
Is the Information Accurate?
When evaluating the accuracy of the material, look for evidence from scientific research, other data, or expert opinion to decide whether the information is correct. If you obtain information from a medical publication, make a note of the study’s size and category. What percentage of the population was used to gather the information? Read the article carefully to see if the authors address any of the study’s shortcomings or flaws, which they likely will. Research based on randomized controlled trials is the most dependable type of evidence.
Always remember that when receiving information from a secondary source such as an Internet website or a newspaper story, you are depending on the interpretation of the individual who provided the information.
However, while your local newspaper may give wonderful information on certain areas, it does not have the expertise of a cancer journal or a national institution dedicated to the study of cancer.
You should also look to see when the material was published or when the Web page was most recently updated, if applicable.
This is especially crucial in the realm of health care, because knowledge is continually changing as new discoveries are discovered. To conclude, while evaluating accuracy, take into consideration the following factors:
- Is the information supported by scientific evidence? Is the information backed up by facts and figures? If yes, what is the original source? Are there any additional sources that support the information? Is the information up to date, and
Unless it is backed up by information from other sources that fit the requirements for credibility, information that has no recognized publisher or author should not be relied upon. If the information is being provided largely for the goal of selling a product, there may be a conflict of interest since the manufacturer may not want to reveal data that might lead you to reconsider buying the product. If you have a suspicion that someone is trying to sell you anything, you might consider seeking further information from a more impartial source.
- In certain cases, even highly regarded medical publications or websites may have a minor bias based on their own personal experience.
- Despite the fact that the information may be factual, it may have a tiny bias due to the fact that it is coming from a certain perspective.
- Considering the fact that health information is always changing as new discoveries are discovered, it is critical to ensure that the information is up to date.
- For example, a website that has not been updated in a long time or an article that has been published several years ago may not provide information about new and promising therapies.
- Keep in mind that information obtained from forums such as Internet chat rooms and bulletin boards should be used with caution.
- Although such forums can be a great source of information, there are few procedures in place to assure the integrity or veracity of the material that is posted therein.
- Whenever possible, information from such forums should be backed up by other reputable sources of information.
- To conclude, anytime you see any of the following red flags, you should be cautious of the information:
- The information is kept confidential
- There is a potential conflict of interest
- Nonetheless, The information is skewed or slanted in one direction
- The information provided is out of date
- There is an allegation that a miracle or a hidden cure has occurred
- There is no supporting evidence. In addition, the grammar is bad and certain terms are misspelled.
When looking for information, it is crucial to know that the process can be complex, even when you come across reliable sources of information. Even trustworthy sites might present inconsistent information or propose a variety of treatment options from time to time. When there is no firm data concerning the most effective technique to treat a certain ailment, differences of opinion might occur between experts. In these situations, you may choose to speak with a number of different practitioners in order to determine the most appropriate course of therapy for you.
However, while only a small number of sources will meet all of the criteria for credibility and accuracy, becoming familiar with these criteria can help you sift through information with greater criticality and will provide important cues that will help you differentiate between good quality and poor quality information.
Searching for Credible Health Information Online
When looking for information, it’s crucial to know that the process can be complex, even when you come across reliable sources of data. Even trustworthy sites might present contradicting information or propose a variety of treatment options at various times of the year. When there is no firm data concerning the most effective technique to treat a certain ailment, differences of opinion might occur between experts. As a result, you may choose to speak with a variety of healthcare professionals before deciding on the most appropriate medical intervention.
However, while only a small number of sources will meet all of the criteria for credibility and accuracy, becoming familiar with these criteria can assist you in sifting through information with greater care and will provide important cues that will help you differentiate between high-quality and low-quality information.
Qualities of A Credible Website
1. It is published by a well-known company. Who is in charge of the site? Knowing the identity of the site’s owner/publisher will provide you with more insight into the trustworthiness of the content presented on the site. A well-designed website will clearly identify who is the owner and who is the author. The ‘About Us’ link is a fantastic location to begin your exploration. This information may be obtained directly from the sponsor’s website URL.
- The address belongs to a government entity
- The domain name is.govin. It is possible to get the address of an educational institution by searching for.eduin. An organization that is either professional or non-profit will most likely be identifiable with the dot org prefix. Remember that the domain name.org does not imply that the material is current, scientifically valid, or unbiased
- The majority of.comaddresses are owned by for-profit corporations.
Information on the website is up to date, current, and accurate. The site should be updated on a regular basis to ensure that it has the most up-to-date information. Keep an eye out for the copyright expiration date (which is normally located at the very bottom of the page) and/or a clearly displayed latest revision date. Check for broken links within the site, since this may signal that the site is out of date. 3. The information on the site is not biased. When presenting information, it is important to be concise and factual.
Websites that feature endorsements or advertising, or that appear to ‘promote’ specific items, should be avoided at all costs.