The Internet is teeming with health information websites that appear to have a wealth of knowledge. The problem is that you cannot tell at first glance which of these websites you should trust.
Here at EmpowHER, we try to provide solid reliable health information backed with reputable sources or interviews with health providers. Articles that are sponsored by outside companies say so, right at the top of the article.
When looking for health information you can trust, there are some big indicators that the website is more likely to have reliable information.
To start, let’s look at a recent description of how Google plans to guarantee better search results in the current presidential campaign claims using fact checking.
According to the LA Times:
“To qualify, stories must have easily identifiable claims and conclusions, and the analysis must be 'transparent about sources and methods, with citations and references to primary sources', according to Google.”
“But there is some element of human judgment — Google says the organization publishing the story must be nonpartisan with 'transparent funding and affiliations' and can’t target one person or entity in its fact checks.”
This is a pretty concise description of what you too should look for in your health-related search results.
You want to know:
1) Is the source of the information reputable?
Who is providing or endorsing the information? Does the website use input from more than one person or one source to support their statements?
Government websites and sites with a medical affiliation are more likely to be reliable.
Some of these websites even have alternative health information, which is a better source of potentially non-mainstream practices since they report the results of peer-reviewed studies to test those products or practices.
2) Are there a variety of reputable sources or hyperlinks to back up their claims?
This is most important, especially when reading alternative websites for health information.
With 'fact check' label, Google News risks accusations of partisan bias. Retrieved October 15, 2016.
Can Cayenne Pepper Really Stop a Heart Attack? The Survival Doctor.com Retrieved October 15, 2016.
Top 100 List: Health Websites You Can Trust. Caphis.org. Retrieved October 15, 2016.
Reliable Health Information on the Internet A Reference Guide. Johns Hopkins Medicine.org. Retrieved October 15, 2016.