The Importance Of Verifying Medical Information On The Web


Every day, we get medical information through the Internet, television, radio, newspapers and magazines. But how do we know that this information is current, accurate and credible?

First, look at the source

Cindee Ivker

Cindee J. Ivker, MD, FAAP

Is the information from a respected health organization like the American Academy of Pediatrics? Or a reputable government agency, hospital, business, research institution or university?

Next, consider who endorses the information

Is the information reviewed by an editorial board? This is an important step in legitimizing the material. When “experts” in the field are named, you can then Google them for their background. In addition, is that “board of experts” presenting factual information or just their opinions? Remember, you are searching for factual information, not personal views.

Check how current the information is

Is the magazine, television report or website referencing information that is up-to-date or from years back? While older information may be the foundation for current information, it is imperative for you to know whether it’s old but relevant, old and no longer accurate, or current and reliable.

The author of the article also gives credibility to the information

Look to see if the piece was written by a healthcare professional. If the authorship isn’t clear, find out who wrote it. Is the information factual or the writer’s opinion? If it’s on the Internet, look on the website’s home page for an “About us” link or “About this site.” This should take you to a page that explains which person, official or organization is responsible for the information.

Always, consult your doctor

Your doctor or healthcare provider is available to help you understand the information you have read or heard and guide you in making healthy, educated choices. Please take the opportunity to talk to your physician or your child’s pediatrician. It is our goal to keep you informed and to be a part of your health decision-making process.

For accurate, reliable medical information, I recommend these websites:

By Cindee J. Ivker, MD, FAAP, Lead Pediatric Physician with Westchester Health Pediatrics, member of Northwell Health Physician Partners

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About the Author: ML Ball