10 Great Health Sites to Recommend to Your Patients

Discerning between trustworthy health-related information and misguided, un-researched information can be a laboring and even terrifying task for any patient. Most of us have surely fallen victim to something called “Cyberchondria,” the online counterpart of hypochondria, where we create a fear within ourselves that we have some outrageous disease after doing online health searches. With the rise of the health care costs nationally, it makes sense that an increased number of patients will look for cheaper alternatives online to help cope with their large medical bills.

However, scouring the web for medical information rather than seeking help from a professional has the potential to lead to a very dangerous misdiagnosis. In a survey of 1,000 women conducted by women’s health brand, Balance Activ, 25% of women misdiagnosed themselves after doing web searches and actually ended up buying the wrong medication to cure their “illnesses.”

One thing health care professionals can do to avoid patients misdiagnosing themselves is to provide them upfront with knowledgeable and research-backed websites to help the patients live healthier lifestyles. Only trust a trained physician to inform you of your condition and to let you know which resources are best for you and your family.

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Here is a great list of resources and medical tools health care professionals can offer families and patients of any age:

1. Mayo Clinic

MayoClinic.com offers a wealth of easy-to-understand health and medical information. In addition to comprehensive disease and condition guides the site includes descriptions of drugs, supplements, tests, and procedures; healthy living guides; a symptom checker; and expert blogs.

2. healthfinder

Managed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, healthfinder.gov provides reliable information culled from approximately 1,400 health-related organizations. Features of note include tools for finding health services and support, National Health Observances toolkits, and information about what is covered under health care reform.

3. Aetna Intelihealth

Aetna InteliHealth, a subsidiary of Aetna, partners with Harvard Medical School and Columbia University College of Dental Medicine to provide health information on this website. The site is content rich on disease and treatment information and includes additional features such as interactive health tools, ask the expert, dental health, and drug resource center.

4. MedlinePlus

The National Library of Medicine, a part of the National Institutes of Health, created and maintains MedlinePlus to assist consumers in locating authoritative health information. The first place to go when seeking information MedlinePlus pages offer carefully selected links to web resources with health information on more than 900 topics. The A.D.A.M. medical encyclopedia includes images, videos, and over 4,000 brief articles. Drug and supplement information, a medical dictionary, patient education interactive tutorials, and links to health information in multiple languages are also available.

5. Hardin M.D.

This subject directory of health website links is maintained by the Hardin Library for the Health Sciences, University of Iowa. A special focus on medical pictures makes this site unique.

6. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The CDC, a part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, deals with preventing and controlling disease, injury and disability and its website ably reflects this mission. One of the best government websites on the Internet, its coverage is broad. Its “Diseases and Conditions” section covers major chronic and many infectious diseases including AIDS, bird flu, common childhood diseases like measles and more exotic diseases like Ebola. Birth defects, traveler’s health, emergency preparedness, vaccine and immunization information, accidents and injury information, infectious diseases and workplace safety and health are all covered.

7. National Institutes of Health: Women’s Health

National Institutes of Health (NIH) is “the nation’s medical research agency.” Its Women’s Health webpage provides links to articles, guides, factsheets, and other resources on women’s health as well as related topics, by various institutes within the agency. A search can be done within the Women’s Health category as well as of all NIH health topics. NIH Health Topics A-Z browsing feature is also available.

8. AHRQ Men Stay Healthy at Any Age

Men Stay Healthy at Any Age, from the Agency on Health Research and Quality, provides a checklist to help men maintain their health. Men are encouraged to obtain appropriate screening tests, take needed preventive medicine and to practice healthy behaviors, all explained more fully on the site. The information comes from U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force.

9. Household Products Database

This site helps you and your children learn more about what’s under your kitchen sink, in your garage, in your bathroom, and on the shelves in your laundry room. Information about these products, their potential health effects, and safety and handling is included.

10. eMedicine Health

This site provides consumer health information. There is also information on medical emergencies, injuries, minor medical conditions and basic first aid. The site contains more than 900 health and medical articles written by physicians for the general public.