Finding and Evaluating Health Information


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Presentation given at the Computing Learning Center @ Ewing re: basic tips for finding and evaluating online health information.

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  • Introduction Health Scenario Discussion Where to Start Evaluating Information Health Resources via the Internet Searches Evaluating Information Tips Resources Fancy Google Searching Reputable Health Resources Revisit Health Scenario Q & A
  • Potential questions for this scenario might be: • What are the primary side effects of Advair? • What will my prognosis be if I don’t completely quit smoking? • What surgery might be available for COPD? • What is pulmonary rehabilitation? • Is bowling OK? • What are the conditions that would require continuous oxygen use?
  • Potential questions for this scenario might be: • What are the primary side effects of Advair? • What will my prognosis be if I don’t completely quit smoking? • What surgery might be available for COPD? • What is pulmonary rehabilitation? • Is bowling OK? • What are the conditions that would require continuous oxygen use?
  • Explains [in everyday language] disorders, who is likely to get them, their symptoms, how they're diagnosed, how they might be prevented, and how they can be treated; also provides information about prognosis. � The online resource includes a section specifically focused on � Older People’s Health Issues. �
  • Directs you to information to help answer health questions. MedlinePlus brings together authoritative information from NLM, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and other government agencies and health-related organizations. MedlinePlus also contains extensive information about drugs and supplements, an illustrated medical encyclopedia, interactive tutorials, the latest health news, and surgery videos.
  • Coordinated by the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (ODPHP) and the National Health Information Center, this site provides a great starting point to reliable consumer health information, as well as other resources [e.g., support groups].
  • [ D]esigned to help you, as a patient or family caregiver, to better understand the many clinical lab tests that are part of routine care as well as diagnosis and treatment of a broad range of conditions and diseases.
  • Created by University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey Libraries, this site is developed � to meet the health care information needs of consumers, particularly the citizens of New Jersey. � The Health in New Jersey section contains links to information re: Healthcare Facilities, Healthcare Providers, County Health Resources, etc.
  • � All of the information on this site has been written and reviewed by physicians and patient education professionals at the AAFP [American Academy of Family Physicians]. � Contains a section focused on health for older adults.
  • 3,300+ physicians, scientists and researchers from the reputable Mayo Clinic share their expertise to empower you to manage your health. Includes interactive tools to assist consumers in managing their health.
  • � [F]eatures basic health and wellness information for older adults from the National Institutes of Health. Use the buttons at the top of each page to make the text bigger, change text color, or hear the text read aloud. �
  • Finding and Evaluating Health Information

    1. 1. Finding & EvaluatingOnline Health ResourcesAnna Van Scoyocavanscoy@mcl.orgComputer Learning Center @ Ewing2012 March 6
    2. 2. Agenda• Introduction• Health Scenario Discussion• Where to Start• Search Tips• Health Resources via the Internet• Evaluating Information• Q&A
    3. 3. Health Scenario  George 68-year-old man experiencing shortness of breath for three or four months shortness of breath seemed to get worse when he was climbing stairs, taking a brisk walk, or exerting himself constant, nagging cough for at least six months and has been an on-again, off- again smoker for the last fifty or so years.Source:
    4. 4. Health Scenario, continued Diagnosed with a mild case of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, COPD His doctor tells him that must immediately stop smoking. Doesn’t have to be on continuous oxygen for now (that may change in the future). Prescribes Advair, a steroid to be used with an inhalerSource:
    5. 5. Health Scenario, continued Referred to a pulmonary rehab center re: continuing bowling and other light exercise George’s bowling teammates tells him about a medical news story outlining some kind of surgery for COPDSource:
    6. 6. What questions might George have about his diagnosis, medications, quality of life, or prognosis?CC Image Courtesy of LEOL30: ‘Educational Block?’
    7. 7. Where do you start searching?CC Image Courtesy of stephenjohnbryde: ‘magnifying glass macro <06.jpg’
    8. 8.
    9. 9. Google Searching hints…• Advanced search –• Limit by year – most recent info• Search for specific site or domain – .gov, .org, etc.• Select where to search for terms – Anywhere in page – Title of page – Text of page – Etc.
    10. 10. Google Searching hints…• Within your results → use “refine options” on the left-hand side of search results to narrow by: – Type of Source • News, Videos, Books, etc. – Time/Currency • Published in the past 24 hours, past week, past month, etc. – Related Searches • Provides additional search suggestions to narrow results
    11. 11. Online Health Resourcesfind answers, rather thansearch for them
    12. 12. Online Health Resources, part 2find answers, rather thansearch for them
    13. 13. Take the time to….EVALUATE THE WEBSITE
    14. 14. Sponsorship• Who runs the site?• Why have they created the site?• What do they want from you?• Who is paying for the site? Does the site’s information favor the sponsor?• Look for an “About Us” link…• Look at the URL (i.e., web address)
    15. 15. Currency• Is the site’s information current?• Are there broken links?• Is the site consistently available (no “Page Not Found” cases…)• Look for “Last Updated” or “Last Reviewed” note.
    16. 16. Factual Information• Who wrote it, and what are his/her credentials?• Facts, not opinions.• Verifiable via professional literature, etc.• Where did the information come from?• Advertisements should be clearly marked.
    17. 17. Audience• Who is the site intended for?• Intended audience should be clearly stated.• Is it presented in every day terminology• Locate site’s purpose/mission• Look for an “About Us” link.
    18. 18. Privacy• How will they use any personal information they request?• Look for a privacy policy.• Thoroughly review membership/registration form.
    19. 19. Health on the Net (HON) Foundation• Economic and Social Council of the United Nations• Promotes and guides deployment of useful and reliable online health information• Reviewed with 8 principles
    20. 20. Time Saving Hint…• Sites with reviewed materials for the health consumer: – MedlinePlus – – NIHSeniorsHealth – Merck Manual Home Health Handbook – HealthyNJ – etc.
    21. 21. Q&A