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Gateway to Health: Reliable Information on the Internet Consumer Health Decisions Series.

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Presentation on theme: "Gateway to Health: Reliable Information on the Internet Consumer Health Decisions Series."— Presentation transcript:

1 Gateway to Health: Reliable Information on the Internet Consumer Health Decisions Series

2 Presented by: Name Rank Department of Family Development University of Wisconsin-Extension Family Living Educator County

3 This Program was Developed by: Consumer Health Education Team of the University of Wisconsin Extension Family Living Program January, 2008 Marma McIntee, Molly Haak, Allison Hales Espeseth, Christine Hawkinson University of Wisconsin-Extension, U.S. Department of Agriculture and Wisconsin counties cooperating. UW-Extension provides equal opportunities in employment and programming, including Title IX and ADA.

4 Adapted with permission from: The Northern Area Health Education Center, Inc.

5 Overview Learn how to use the Internet as a health information source Develop an understanding of the quality of information on the Internet Learn the best ways to find reliable health information web sites

6 Who uses the Internet and Why? As of 2004, 79% of Americans had searched the Internet for health information Internet provides: Privacy Convenience Many different sources/viewpoints Internet may encourage: More communication with health provider

7 Internet as Consumer Aid One of the Internet's strengths is its ability to help consumers find the right needle in a digital haystack of data. - Jared Sandberg Wall Street Journal columnist

8 Internet as Consumer Annoyance Trying to get information from the Internet is like drinking from a firehose - Mitch Kapor Founder of Lotus software company

9 Why should you search the Internet for health information? Make informed health decisions Learn about new treatments Improve communication with health care providers Find support Promote healthier lifestyle Find resources for school and work

10 How can the Internet be confusing? Information overload Disorganized Technical or unfamiliar terms Too much information can make decision-making difficult

11 Why else is the Internet confusing? Privacy/safety may be at risk: Your personal/financial information Internet is a free-for-all: Anyone can post information May not be reviewed by experts The quality of some information is uncertain

12 o Products may be unproven/illegal o Information presented may be unreliable and biased (commercial) (business) sites usually selling something Why else…

13 What suggests that this site might be selling something?

14 Are consumers concerned about reliability? Yes, however: tend to visit only first few search results spend average of 6 minutes on sites cant remember sites they visited Consumers should be just as critical of information from the Internet as they are from any other source

15 What do we mean by reliable? Accurate Reliable information = & Complete

16 How can we know if Internet health information is reliable? Even researchers find it difficult to determine what is reliable Information on web sites for medical and academic centers is not always perfectly complete…but still credible But new tools are being developed all the time. Lets show you the best…

17 First: BEWARE!! Does the web site: make outrageous claims? offer prescriptions or treatments not by a licensed health care provider? offer information only to sell a product?

18 Next, when looking at health information, does the website: clearly state purpose and sponsors? separate advertising/sales from health information? only use information from other reliable sources? say how it chooses to link to other web sites? keep information up-to-date? say how it will protect your personal information? give contact information?

19 Are there tools to check reliability? Lots of rating symbols that supposedly indicate quality Lots of checklists, too Most havent been shown to actually work! You need to know that ones that do…

20 What tools should we use? Some reputable sources: Web site rating check lists HON code (a quality rating symbol) Subject gateways

21 UW Libraries Web Site Checklist custom/evalweb.pdf Created by the University of Wisconsin libraries Key questions to ask when thinking about the credibility of ANY web site


23 DISCERN A 15-item checklist Walk through a web page to help you determine the reliability of health information

24 HONcode: Health on the Net Code The number-one principle that HON code subscribers must adhere to is admitting that what they do cannot ever replace the relationship between a patient and health care provider Look for similar disclaimers where the HONcode does appear


26 What are Subject Gateways? Subject gateways or directories: Evaluate websites before linking Point to quality information resources Save time!

27 Suggested Health Information Subject Gateways Healthy Wisconsin People MEDLINE plus healthfinder BadgerLink for library resources

28 Links to other health information gateways Key national and Wisconsin web resources in ten categories Links to library resources and support, including Monday archives


30 Health topics Drug Information Dictionaries Medical Encyclopedia Directories


32 Search or pick topics from list Searches can be limited to age groups/populations News, including health events calendars Background information & reference tools Selection policy


34 Free to Wisconsin citizens Periodical and newspaper indexes include much full-text EBSCO health databases HealthSource Plus Clinical Reference Systems USP DI Volume II, Advice for the Patient


36 REMEMBER: Anything you read on the Internet should be discussed with a licensed health care provider

37 Consumer Health Decision Series Choosing a Health Care Provider Communicating with Your Health Care Provider

38 For More Information Contact: Name UW-Extension, ___________County phone Visit the UWEX website:

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