Health Care Web Sites Can Be Helpful If They're Reputable

Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), February 24, 2003 | Go to article overview

Health Care Web Sites Can Be Helpful If They're Reputable


Byline: Jane Oppermann

The Internet has quickly become the most frequently used research tool for health tips and medical resources. And while medical experts once thought older adults were immune from Web- surfing fever, it looks like they've also caught the bug.

An estimated 73 million adults in the United States go online to make critical health decisions - an increase of 21 million in just two years, according to the Pew Research Center.

About 6 million Americans - twice the population of the city of Chicago - go online for medical advice every day. That's more people than visit health care professionals, reports the American Medical Association.

This month a study in CHEST, a publication of the American College of Chest Physicians, reported that older patients with lung cancer turn to the Internet as a major source of information about their disease.

"Previous studies suggest age to be a limiting factor for Internet use. But our survey shows that older adults are clearly embracing this technology to help them seek answers about health care," said Dr. Michael W. Peterson, lead researcher in the study and chief of medicine at the University of San Francisco, Fresno.

Trouble is, researchers said, Internet surfers tend to overrate the quality of medical information they find. Many novice sleuths don't check the source of information or timeliness of the data found online. And just as traffic on the Internet has increased, so has the number of Web sites containing medical information. That means health consumers must sift through copious amounts of data without a guide, ferreting through medical terms and dodging flim- flam sales pitches for bogus cures.

"The Internet has been likened to the Wild West. It's an unregulated, anything-goes type of atmosphere. Anyone with a computer and a Web site can put ideas out there," Peterson cautioned. "The poor consumer must now do the job that medical editors have done in the past for them, and that's quite a task."

Some of the best Internet traffic cops for consumers are librarians.

Carol Scherrer, head of Information Services at the University of Illinois at Chicago, directs many health seekers to the Chicago- based Medical Library Association's Web site. You can find that guide at www.mlanet.org/.

The site contains the association's picks for the most useful medical Web sites.

It also includes a feature called Medspeak, which translates medical language into understandable terms. A similar feature helps in deciphering abbreviations on prescriptions.

You can make an old-fashioned onsite visit to the Library of the Health Sciences at the University of Illinois at Chicago because that tax-supported facility is open to the public, Scherrer said.

Web surfing will turn up a lot of information from sources you don't know. Scherrer suggests taking a close look at a site before taking any information as fact. Here are some questions to keep in mind:

- Does the page have a reputable sponsor and is the sponsor indicated on the home page? …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Health Care Web Sites Can Be Helpful If They're Reputable
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

    Already a member? Log in now.