The internet has grown into a rich resource for medical information. Anyone can easily search any medical information and find it quickly on their phones and tablets. However, there are people out there who are after clicks and attracting traffic to their websites. They post medical articles without checking the facts, which can easily mislead the consumers of the information. Unfortunately, relying on misleading medical information can be fatal. Before taking any medical information that you find online as true, it is very important to double-check those medical articles to get the facts straight. That being said, here are 5 ways that you can check the reliability of medical articles online.
- Check out the website
The website that the medical article is posted on has a lot to tell about the credibility of the information there. You should check the purpose of the website to aid you in gauging its trustworthiness. Government-funded websites, educational institutes’ websites, and noncommercial sites are unbiased. Such sites are likely to be post-independent and reliable.
However, you should be wary of legitimate websites that are commercialized. Such sites can sometimes post reliable information but might be influenced to post inaccurate information if they are promoting a particular medical product or service. For articles coming from such websites, it is good to fact-check them further.
Another thing to check on the website is the other articles posted on the website. You should keep in mind that medical information keeps changing as new ways of treating and preventing diseases come up. Check whether the other articles are current. For articles written a long time ago, there should be a recent review date to show that the information is still valid.
- Visit the source website
Many medical websites source their information from other sites. The good thing is that most remember to credit the source. Before you use that information, check out the original website where the article was originally posted. Go to the ‘About’ section to find out the purpose of the website. You can also analyze the previous articles to check their credibility as mentioned above.
- Ask an expert
Consuming misleading medical information can easily lead to serious medical problems. For instance, articles that show frightening statistics about a certain illness can cause unnecessary stress and anxiety in individuals or even a society. It can even be fatal for individuals fighting that disease. Another scenario is where a certain product with adverse medical effects is portrayed as a good product in a medical article. If people end up using such a product, the effects can lead to irreversible conditions or even death. That is why it is very important to fact-check medical articles before acting on the information.
You can never go wrong by passing the information through your healthcare provider to find out the truth about it. You can also find experts online who can verify the reliability of the information. Experts who are knowledgeable in medical statistics can help you verify the facts about medical information. It would benefit you to pay for medical statistics consulting to dig up the facts.
- Do a quick research on the writer and the reviewer
Websites that post medical articles should give the information of the people who prepared the article as well as the person who reviewed it. You can take these names and do quick research to see what comes up in the search results. If you find that the individuals are linked to commercialized sites, blogs, or other unreliable sites, there is a high possibility that the facts are wrong. On the other hand, renowned experts from recognized research institutes write and review the information that has been thoroughly researched.
- Find out who else has written about it
On top of researching about the writer and the reviewer, it also helps to check who else has written about the information. If you find that only one person has written about it, use any of the above measures to verify the reliability of the information.
Medical articles contain sensitive information that can cause serious repercussions if it turns out to be false. That is why you should stop and check the facts before using the information. It is always good to ask for an expert’s opinion, but you can also conduct some research online to find out the websites’ and writers’ credibility. In addition, seek to find out who else is writing about the same information.