If you want health information, you search for it online. This is especially true during a health crisis when facts, figures, and information change every hour. However, there is just as much bad information online as there is good information—maybe more. Make sure that you are getting accurate health information from reliable sources.
The most important thing that you can do to make sure that the health information you read is reliable is to learn how to identify trustworthy sources.
Examples of sources for reliable health information
Government health sites and nationally recognized health organizations are good places to start.
- American Heart Association
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- National Institutes of Health
- World Health Organization
- Your state health department
Well-known clinics and medical schools such as the Mayo Clinic and Harvard School of Medicine are also good sources of reliable health information.
Examples of sources that might be reliable
- Medical blogs
- Radio shows
- News channels
News channels, popular publications, and newspapers typically have accurate information, but they don’t always get it right—even the reputable ones.
The biggest problem with these sources is that many people recognize them as being factual and accurate, so they accept the information provided from these sources without checking facts. It’s not uncommon for mainstream news sources to provide accidental or unintentional misinformation. In some cases there is intentional misinformation.
Always compare the information from these sources to an upper level source to see if the facts line up.
Sources that should not be considered reliable
These sources might have accurate information, but don’t assume that it’s accurate. Information from non-experts is highly susceptible to accidental or intentional misinformation.
- Social media
- Non-medical blogs
Influencers make a living by influencing people. However, a LaCroix sponsorship doesn’t make someone an authority on health information.
Social media is full of opinions, but not always a great source for facts. There are some exceptions, though. An informative post from one of those reliable health sources—WHO, CDC, Arkansas Department of Health, etc.—can be considered trustworthy.
Forums are an excellent source of entertainment and interesting ideas. Your typical online forum isn’t a credible source of accurate health information.
Non-medical blogs are a mixed bag. Sometimes you get information that is well-researched, and sometimes you get speculation. Look for their sources and do a little extra reading.
Quick tips to help you find reliable health information online.
- Look for health information from trusted and reliable sources.
- Don’t stop at your first source. Compare the information with other credible sources of health information.
- What do you know about the author? Was the post written by a doctor, or a biology major, or a vlogger with no formal education?
- Don’t fall into your echo chamber. Don’t accept something as accurate and reliable simply because it agrees with your world view.
- Is the content sponsored? You don’t want to trust a study about lung disease that was funded by a tobacco company. Basically, ask yourself — do they have a reason to mislead you?
- How current is the information? Old information isn’t necessarily outdated, but there could be more current research and findings.
Make sure that you are getting accurate information from trusted, reliable sources. If you are a medical professional, you can help make sure that people are getting accurate health information by providing it on your website. Haden Interactive can help you with that. We are professional copywriters who specialize in writing content for doctors, clinics, hospitals, and wellness professionals.