HotSpots: Evidence Based Patient Websites

June 13, 2009

jupiterredspot.gifWelcome to HotSpots. In this series, we highlight unique websites of interest to the medical profession. Feel free to make suggestions for sites that should be featured in this series by clicking the comment field or sending us an email.

Rebecca Hall MD

More and more patients are going online to read about their medical conditions. Patients may not be able to distinguish reputable evidence based medical sites from gimmick type websites promising expensive, useless “cures” and “vitamins” and providing faulty “medical” advice. Having a few reputable evidence based health information websites to refer patients to can be tremendously useful and can help steer patients away from resources with health information of questionable relevance or with little supporting evidence. Some of the best I have come across include:

http://health.nih.gov/
National Institutes of Health “Health Information”: easily searchable database of most major medical conditions and provides topic based reviews based on research in peer reviewed journals written at a level that most patients will understand.

http://www.mayoclinic.com/
This patient-friendly website from the Mayo Clinic allows patients to search for information about diseases or to search for diseases by symptoms. It also features a guide to medications and supplements.

http://medlineplus.gov/
Medline Plus is another good site for patients and also features content in over 40 languages including Spanish. It also has a searchable drug and supplement database for patients.

http://www.intelihealth.com/
Intelihealth is partnered with Harvard Medical school to provide answers to medically related questions from patients. The home page offers breaking medical/health related headlines and other sections include a searchable database of drug information, a medical dictionary, and information about alternative and complementary medicine therapies.

http://familydoctor.org/
Website from the AAFP presenting disease related information for patients including audio and video content about more than 500 common medical conditions. Also available in Spanish.

Dr. Hall is a 1st year internal medicine resident at NYU Medical Center.

One Response to HotSpots: Evidence Based Patient Websites

  1. 1MDstudent on June 14, 2009 at 5:42 pm

    Hello,

    Thanks for the suggestions! There is another that I would like to suggest that I have found really useful: Health Sciences Online.

    HSO is a relatively new site that has a lot of great potential and I think many people, including healthcare professionals as well as patients, would find very informative. The team at HSO has sifted through a whole slew of online resources and picked the best ones using pre-defined criteria such as relevancy, quality of information, how often the information is updated, etc. It’s a great way for anyone to search for high-quality health sciences material; everything on the site is free, there are no ads anywhere, and the information is both comprehensive and evidence-based. I implore you to check out the site and conduct a search for yourself and you will see the quality work that the team has put into the site.

    The website is located at http://www.hso.info and I hope that you find it as great as I did!

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