Where is Trusted Healthcare Information on the Web?
Internet is one of the major sources of Healthcare information. Most users get this directly from Web-sites, many of them go to various medical on-line communities. These are usually the sources of experience, best treatment and best doctors’ information. Users exchange data and, as a rule, provide links (URLs) to useful Web-sites.
Journal of Medical Internet Research recently published a research: Website Sharing in Online Health Communities: A Descriptive Analysis by Chinmoy Nath PhD; Jina Huh, PhD; Abhishek Kalyan Adupa; Siddhartha R Jonnalagadda, PhD.
This provides a lot of detailed information that is useful for practitioners both in Healthcare and in IT.
While you may read the whole research data on line, here I would like to pinpoint some interesting results:
A very useful observation:
Despite all the positive aspects of using online health information, it can be overwhelming, conflicting, and confusing for patients to find relevant, validated information . Providing information to patients about the relevance and the validity of the websites posted in online health communities can assist in meeting the health information needs of patients while seeking online health information
Out of 6 most popular Internet domain categories – it was discovered that the most popular and trustworthy are the sites in .com domain, and after that: WebMD websites, .org websites, .gov websites, .edu websites, and social media websites. This is a very interesting revelation – since usually people think that social media IS the most popular source. However, it turns that from the point of view of trust – it is not.
This table shows some remarkable facts:
- The Heart Disease community seems to be the most sophisticated with extensive references to information in a relatively low number of posts
- Diabetes, sexual health and weight loss are the most popular communities – at the same time providing very little reference information
Image by MedGizmo