Friday, June 25, 2010

Health in Progress
What kind of good stuff is on the web? We have had quite a few questions come in during the last month requesting help in finding health information on the Internet. A patron asked if we could find details about what to expect during and after hip replacement surgery. By clicking on, Medline Interactive Health Tutorials, the patron was able to view a narrated tutorial that included information regarding the procedure, risks, treatment options, and even anatomy. The National Library of Medicine produces this website by arrangement with the Patient Education Institute to help lessen fear associated with certain medical conditions. The healthcare consumer can choose the audio or text/graphic only versions. Spanish language versions are available as well. Another patron came in asking if we could find statistics on the rate of autism in the United States. We referred this patron to, the National Center for Health Statistics, where they were able to find this information. Statistics on this site are complied by or under the auspices of the US government. This information can even be downloaded to an Excel spreadsheet for easier reading.

Other quality medical information review sites include, US Food and Drug Adminstration and, National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. You can find the latest news on product recalls on the FDA site in addition to food, drug, and medical device evaluations and safety alerts. Current news and archives of research results regarding dietary supplements, therapies as well as warnings about dangerous treatments and side-effects can be found on the Complementary and Alternative Medicine site.

Evaluating health and medical information found on the web can be tricky. Who provided the information and what is the reputation of this provider (commercial, non-profit, educational) are key items to verify. Looking at the author’s credentials such as educational background, publication history and research experience can help ascertain trustworthy information. It is very important that medical information sites adhere to high quality standards. It is also important to identify the site’s sponsor and credentials. So, when beginning your search and you find you need help, come on in or call our Reference Department (330.832.9831) and we can help you find the tools to assist you with your research.

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