With the advent of the Internet, people have grown accustomed to having quick, easy access to the latest medical information. This state of affairs has encouraged doctors to use their own websites to educate the general public about a variety of health-related topics. Unfortunately, the Internet is filled with websites that offer a lot of questionable medical advice. Sometimes this results from the website author simply lacking an education in medicine and health. In other situations, the information being offered up is clearly outdated. New research and findings are often overturning older medical views. Unfortunately, it is difficult for the average person to determine if they are getting their hands on good ideas or just a bunch of bunk.
Does Peer Review Help
One of the ways the scientific community tries to ensure that the good medical science makes it into the prestigious medical journals is to subject new findings to the peer review process. Unfortunately, no one putting up a website with medical advice online is required to be subjected to peer review. This means that anyone can write anything they want on a website, and they might even believe what they are saying, but this does not ensure that it is sound medical advice. According to an article on webMD, around 59-percent of all adults search for medical information online. However, it is still trendy for people to ask their doctor’s advice in most cases, before proceeding with questionable medical advice. Though it is true that doctors do not always provide the best medical advice themselves, they will usually serve a good function as a second opinion. Often, even a mediocre doctor will be able to explain why certain treatments are risky or dangerous.
Improving Online Searches for Medical Advice
While it is certain that people will always turn to the Internet for medical advice, there are definitely ways to improve their search efforts. For starters, it is a good idea to look to see if the author providing the medical advice has any type of credentials. Though anyone can claim to be an MD, it is usually the case that such credentials are possible to verify. It can also help if the author on a medical advice blog or website lists a physical location. Many physicians and clinicians are happy to state the location of their medical practice, which makes it easier to determine if they are legitimate or not. An article’s date is also useful information to check out, because advice that is older than ten-years may be significantly out-dated. It is also a good idea to search to see if other contradictory information exists on the same medical topic. Contradictory information generally exposes that something is amiss and that deeper research is warranted to reach a proper understanding of what is truly the case. Using a little caution and common sense, you should be able to weed out the good advice from the bad. If not, your doctor is only a phone call away.