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Patient Friendly Internet References for Health and Medical Research

Master List of Types of Resources with Links to Get You There, Too

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Updated September 07, 2011

Once you have reviewed the guidelines for making sure the information you find online is credible, reliable and objective, use the following links and descriptions to find exactly the information that can help you partner with your doctor, take responsibility for your healthcare decisions, and find your best medical outcomes.

Health On the 'Net -- the HON Code

Health on the Net is a Switzerland-based nonprofit organization that has set a standard for credible health information, and provides a guideline and a search engine to help patients learn more about their diagnosis and treatment options.

Government Resources on the Web

The U.S. government is deeply involved in improving the health of its citizens. From funding research, to providing information that is understandable to patients, a wealth of information is found at government health websites. The two best recommendations? One, that it's highly credible and useful, and two, that it's all free -- because our tax dollars have already paid for all this information.

Medical (Peer Reviewed) Journals

Written by professionals, for professionals, these journals may provide you with the most current information about your medical problem, though they may be difficult to understand.

Disease Specific Associations

Hundreds of diseases and conditions have associations that support their cause. From funding research, to providing support groups or basic information for patients, these organizations can be immensely helpful, especially for patients who have been newly diagnosed.

About.com Health Sites

More than 100 different health topics, from diseases and conditions, to tools and prevention advice can be found in About.com's health channel. Look at the list to see if your topic is covered. This information is vetted in by individuals who are experts in the topics they write about and then by medical professionals. You not only get medically-reviewed information, you get the personal touch of opinions and people's thoughts, too.

Support Groups, Message Boards and Forums

One of the best resources for patients, sharing with others who have experienced exactly what you or your loved one is going through can be empowering. Gain access to support groups, and learn the dos and donts of what to do when you get there.

Doctor Credentials, Physician Ratings Websites and Quality Information

The information available online about specific doctors, their credentials and the quality of their service to patients is a mixed bag. You can find objective information that is highly useful -- or not very. You may find subjective information that is dangerous. Learn how to tell which online doctor information can be helpful, where it is, and how to use it.

Medical Headlines - Research in the News

You can opt to have health and medical articles delivered to your email box every day, or even as they happen, by setting up a request at either Google or Yahoo's News Alerts services. These services are free, and can be tailored in a matter of moments to deliver exactly the news that can be useful to you.

There are specific steps to follow to make sure those headlines are credible. Not all research is objective, or reported fairly. Be sure to understand how to read between the lines to extract credible information.

Keep Up with the Latest Health and Medical News

After you have reviewed the studies and research already published, you may want to know of updates or changes in study results, or new studies which have yet to be published.

Yahoo or Google News Alerts make it easy for you to keep up with the latest research, treatments, and more about your diagnosis and other aspects of your health. Both services are free, and will deliver the information you're looking for right to your e-mail inbox.

Symptom Checkers and Self-Diagnosis

If you're looking for some bare bones, basic information about your symptoms, these may be helpful. But they can't substitute for a doctor's opinion. There are even some websites that suggest you can talk to a live "doctor" online. Those sites can be dangerous.

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