Cyber-Savvy Searching for Consumer Health Resources

April 30, 2014 at 11:42 am

In this issue we initiate an ongoing series of posts which highlight consumer health resources selected by library staff. Searching for health information on the Internet can result in conflicting information, may be sponsored by companies that are marketing health care products, or come from sites that are not monitored by health care professionals. Resources posted in this series will highlight the importance of “cyber-savvy searching” for health information with the following key concepts to remember when reviewing information.

  • AUDIENCE – Does the site focus on patients or health professionals?  Is the site written in clearly understandable terms that consumers can understand?
  • AUTHENTICITY – Who runs the site and for what purpose?  What are the stated objectives of the site?  Do health care professionals monitor and update the information? Are links to research linked for patients to review?
  • ACCURACY AND RELEVANCE – Are entries updated on a weekly or monthly basis?  Can a user connect with the authors?  Are links broken or unable to be accessed?  Do other websites on the same topics have similar information?  Has the user compared information and discussed/asked for clarification from their health care provider?
  • PRIVACY PROTECTION – Does the site have a privacy policy which is easily accessible? Using these simple tools, you can better assist patients and family members in their searches.  Our first topic will focus on our returning veterans and their mental, physical and emotional needs upon their return. Check out the links below for specific information on a variety of topics related to issues encountered by current or past military members.

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MILITARY AND VETERANS

Carol Ann Attwood
Patients Librarian
Mayo Clinic Arizona

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