Health Information on the Internet

Evaluating Health Information Online

  • When looking for health information online, keep in mind that the Internet is not regulated. Anyone can set up a website.
  • These tips were adapted from the National Business Group on Health’s toolkit about health information online.
  • Does the website say who is responsible for the information and how you can contact them? Look for links that say about us, about this site, or contact us. If you can’t find out who runs the site and how to contact them, you should be suspicious.
  • Is the purpose of the website to give information, or is it to trying to sell you something? Commercial websites might be giving only information that supports what they are selling and not a balanced view.
  • You can usually get reliable health information from non-profit educational or medical organizations and government agencies. Health information should be unbiased and balanced, based on solid medical evidence and not just someone’s opinion.
  • The most trustworthy health information is based on medical research. Does the website give references to articles in medical journals or other sources to back up its health information?
  • Health information for the public should be easy to understand. Technical or unfamiliar terms should be clearly explained. Websites should also tell you when the information was prepared and updated.
  • Ask a doctor or other health professional about the health information you find on websites. You may want to bring a copy of the information with you.
  • Be careful about providing personal information. Some websites collect and sell your personal information to other organizations.
  • Trust your instincts about the health information you find on websites. If it doesn’t seem reasonable and believable, then don’t use it.

General Health Information (External Links)

Specific Health Topics

Many non-profit educational and medical associations provide information on specific health topics. For example, CPHA is a good source for information about immunization and preventing chronic and infectious diseases.