Choosing an Online Health Website
Over the past decade, the number of health websites users in the US has grown spontaneously. This is because most Americans rely on the internet for health-related information, with over a third of them running a self-diagnosis on their symptoms based on what they learn online. Fortunately, there are plenty of reliable online health websites where people can source for up to date and accurate medical information. These sites are tailored to assist users in researching various medical conditions, learning multiple treatment plans, and getting informed on the best way to look after their healthcare. This article outlines everything you should know about online health websites before choosing your ideal site.
Benefits of Online Health Websites
Online health websites come with plenty of benefits to users, including the following:
- Easy Access to Medical Information
Most of the online health sites are not only reliable and accurate, but they also provide medical information in an easy-to-understand format. Users can be informed on the symptoms and treatment options of various medical conditions in the comfort of their homes or offices. When used correctly, online health sites can assist you in proactively identifying a medical problem, go for an over-the-counter treatment, and empower you in making the right healthcare solutions.
- Online Consultations
One of the advantages of using online health websites is that you get access to specialists and professional consultations, which you might never get access to. Having an appointment with medical experts can be costly and, in most cases, time-consuming. Fortunately, some of the online health sites allow you to interact with a specialist concerning your health. These consultants are usually medically trained personnel who are qualified to practice. They can diagnose, treat and give medical advice on your health.
- Emotional Support
The good thing with using an online health website is that it brings you into a community of thousands of other users. People with chronic conditions can benefit from these sites through the support chats and groups designed with online health websites. Family and friends might find it difficult to relate to your pain and struggle with a chronic condition, however, the support of a group of people going through a similar situation can help you through your recovery process. Health sites give you a platform to find comfort and emotional support from individuals who share in your experiences.
Elements to Consider When Choosing an Online Health Website
As you browse through the internet, you will come across multiple health websites that are run by well-known organisations and agencies. However, before you choose any health website as your source of medical information, there are critical factors to consider. Here are some of the critical elements to look for in a health website:
- Website Host/Sponsor
Developing, maintaining and keeping any website updated can be quite costly. Having an idea of the site's source of funding may give you an insight into the website's goal and mission. In most cases, the site's URL can help you in identifying its host. For example, .gov identifies a government agency, while .org identifies NGOs. On the other hand, .com relates to a commercial website, while .edu identifies an academic institution.
- Source of Information
Identifying the author of the medical information listed on a health website is fundamental. Although authors of such information are rarely listed on the website, that should not hinder you from soliciting the source of online medical information. If the author is listed, you should seek to identify whether they are licensed, healthcare professionals. A reliable health website will also be clear on the source of information, their credentials, and personal contacts.
- The Date the Information Was Written
You must be able to identify whether the information written on a health website is current and up to date. Although old information is not reliable, you want to use the most current data that is based on recent studies. The period within which such information was written can be traced at the bottom of the site’s page.
- Protection of Health Information
- Scientific References
Any medical information can be best relied on if there are scientific references attached to it. Such scientific references include professional journals, medical textbooks, and recent editions of medical studies. Scientific references can be found at the end of every article or blog on the health site.
The Best Online Health Websites
Here is an outline of some of the best online health websites in the US.
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Online health websites have become a reliable source of medical information in the US, with a more significant number of these users self-diagnosing their symptoms using this information. These sites can be used to provide insights on various health conditions and the different possible treatment plans. Online health sites such as WebMD, PrecisionNutrition, and MindBodyGreen are beneficial as they provide easy access to medical information, professional consultations, and emotional support. To choose the best health website, it is essential to consider such factors as the source of information, scientific references, and privacy policies of the health sites.