TELL HEALTH BLOG

Online Health Information: Is It Reliable?

 Online Health Information: Is It Reliable?
April 20, 2022
Kristina Krasteva

Social media and the Internet have become the primary sources of healthcare information, and more and more people are inclined to rely on the medical information found online. Accessing health information with just a few clicks comes with the great opportunity for people  to take control of their health and discover ways to live well. However, the chance of patients getting their hands on misleading or even false health information is incredibly high and can be dangerous. Many people are unaware of how to assess the health information they receive on the Internet and might wrongly self-diagnose or self-medicate and as a result cause further problems. 

How can you make sure that the health information you are reading online is trustworthy, reliable and up-to-date? There are several steps you can take to ensure that the information you are reading is accurate and authentic.

  • Who is it coming from? – Start by asking yourself if the information has come from a credible source. Seeing if the author is listed and finding out if this person is an expert in the field, would help you identify if the information provided can be trusted. 
  • When was it published? – Medical research is constantly evolving and therefore information should stay up-to-date. Checking when the information was published or updated would prevent patients being misled by outdated or inaccurate information.
  • How is the information presented? – When professionals are sharing medical advice on the Internet, notice how the information is presented. If it is too informal or it is not backed up by research, the chances are that the information is not reliable. Medical providers will do their best to explain the science and make it as easy as possible for the patients to understand.

To help people easily access credible health information we created Tell Health, a safe space for patients where only verified healthcare providers can post information. Misleading or false health information is kept off the Tell Health platform and a medical review board ensures that we only keep information that is scientifically accurate, credible and trustworthy.

References
  1. https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/online-health-information-it-reliable
  2. https://nam.edu/identifying-credible-sources-of-health-information-in-social-media-principles-and-attributes/