Center for Public Health Nutrition

Quality Health Information on the Web: A Tool KitTips for Finding Accurate Health Information
on the Web

Hitting the Target What is quality health information? Information that is current, scientifically-based and supported by peer-reviewed studies.

Ways to Find Quality Information on the Web

Consider the source

  • Only use sources that you recognize
  • Potential sources include the government, non-profit institutions, professional organizations, a health system, a commercial organization, or an individual
    • .gov = Government .org = Organization
      .edu = Education .com = Company
      Note that MedlinePlus is produced by the government.
  • Beware of site bias – identify the site’s purpose and funding
  • Advertisements should be clearly labeled as “Advertisement” or “From our Sponsor”

Focus on quality information

  • The author should be clearly identifiable with provided credentials or contact information
  • The information presented should be reviewed by an editorial board that includes medical experts this should be stated in the “About Us” section of the webpage

Be skeptical

  • Anything that sounds too good to be true probably is
  • It is recommended to check more than one site – get a second opinion!
  • Protect your privacy – site should have a clearly stated privacy policy
  • Notice what types of questions you answer before you can view site content – personal information may be sold or shared

Look for the evidence

  • Avoid opinions and testimonials
  • Check for medical research support

Make sure the information is current

  • Documents should be dated
  • Remember that medical information is always evolving
  • Watch out for broken links – they may reflect a poorly-maintained site

Remember to consult with your doctor

  • Patient-provider partnerships lead to the best medical decisions

MedlinePlus [Internet]. Bethesda (MD): National Library of Medicine (US); [updated 2005 Aug 12; cited 2005 August 11]. Available from: http://medlineplus.gov/.

American Dietetic Association. Position of the American Dietetic Association: Food and Nutrition Misinformation. Journal of the American Dietetic Association. 2006;106:601-607.