Start your search by watching this tutorial from the National Library of Medicine. It provides excellent tips for identifying solid and reliable sources of health information.
General Health Sites
“MedlinePlus is the National Institutes of Health’s Web site for patients and their families and friends. Produced by the National Library of Medicine, it brings you information about diseases, conditions, and wellness issues in language you can understand. MedlinePlus offers reliable, up-to-date health information, anytime, anywhere, for free. You can use MedlinePlus to learn about the latest treatments, look up information on a drug or supplement, find out the meanings of words, or view medical videos or illustrations. You can also get links to the latest medical research on your topic or find out about clinical trials on a disease or condition.” (From their About Us page, 4/4/2014)
“This Web site is operated by the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), a national medical organization representing more than 110,600 family physicians, family practice residents and medical students. All of the information on this site has been written and reviewed by physicians and patient education professionals at the AAFP.” (From their About This Site page, 4/4/2014)
“Go Ask Alice! is the health question and answer Internet resource produced by Alice! Health Promotion at Columbia University — a division of ColumbiaHealth. This site has three frequently used features (among the many). New Go Ask Alice! Q&As of the Week gives you the most recently published inquiries and responses — this section is updated every Friday. Search Go Ask Alice! lets you find health information by subject via a search of the ever-growing Go Ask Alice! archives containing thousands of previously-posted questions and answers, and reader responses. The search box is located at the top of every page on the site. Ask Alice! gives you the chance to ask and submit a question to Alice!” (From the site’s About Us page, 4/4/2014)
This is the official website of the Health Insurance Marketplace, created under the Affordable Care Act. On the Marketplace website, you can review available plans and apply for coverage. Learn more about how to use the Marketplace and find answers to some of your questions about how the Marketplace works on this page.
“The new health law (aka the Affordable Care Act) is the biggest change in the American health care system in more than a generation. We’ve created the Health Law Helper to give consumers accurate and unbiased information about this complex new law and how it affects them. HealthLawHelper is an informational tool designed for individual consumers. It incorporates the best information Consumer Reports has about the federal healthcare law’s impact on consumers. Consumer Reports and its publishers, licensors and any suppliers cannot be responsible for errors or omissions, or any consequences arising from your use of HealthLawHelper.” (From the Why We’re Doing This page, 4/4/2014)
Healthfinder.gov is a website developed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. ”When making decisions about your health, it’s important to know where to go to get the latest, most reliable information. healthfinder.gov has resources on a wide range of health topics selected from approximately 1,400 government and non-profit organizations to bring you the best, most reliable health information on the Internet.” (From the About Healthfinder.gov page, 4/4/2014)
Healthline offers a variety of health topics and tools, including a symptom checker and a drug search and pill identifier. Find a doctor by specialty in your area. Interactive articles and videos provide objective and trustworthy health information that has been reviewed by health professionals.
The world-renowned healthcare provider offers a Patient Care and Health Information section on their website. Divided into four sections (diseases and conditions, symptoms, tests and procedures, and drugs and supplements), search for information produced by Mayo Clinic staff that is relevant to your questions and concerns.
“PubMed Health provides information for consumers and clinicians on prevention and treatment of diseases and conditions. PubMed Health specializes in reviews of clinical effectiveness research, with easy-to-read summaries for consumers as well as full technical reports. Clinical effectiveness research finds answers to the question “What works?” in medical and health care. PubMed Health is a service provided by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) at the U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM).” (From the About page, 4/4/2014)
WebMD is a well-known and respected source of health information online. The interactive symptom checker is an easy way to locate targeted information, but you can also browse for information on common conditions or drugs and supplements. Articles are regularly updated and reviewed by health experts. The Living Healthy and Family & Pregnancy sections provide articles on health for all life stages and events. Their Pet Health Center even provides health information for your furry companion.
Specific Health Sites
The American Diabetes Association is a non-profit organization that funds research, offers services, and provides information for anyone living with diabetes. Learn about the basic health factors of the different types of diabetes, find out about potential complications and learn about treatment options, and get advice on diet and exercise. My Food Advisor provides all sorts of information specific to healthy eating for diabetics.
The American Heart Association is a voluntary organization that supports heart health research, CPR education training, and heart health education for healthcare practitioners and the general public. Their website provides a great deal of information on ways to improve and maintain your heart health. It also provides pages on specific heart health conditions, resources for caregivers, and information about CPR (such as these multimedia resources on Hands Only CPR).
The National Cancer Institute is a branch of the National Institute of Health. Find information on their website about current research, clinical trials, and cancer statistics. Browse by cancer topic to find reliable information on various kinds of cancer as well as prevention and treatment.
“HIV InSite is developed by the Center for HIV Information (CHI) at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF), one of the world’s leading health sciences institutions. Within UCSF, HIV InSite is produced in collaboration with the San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center and other components of the University’s AIDS Research Institute. Launched in March 1997, HIV InSite’s mission is to be a source for comprehensive, in-depth HIV/AIDS information and knowledge. The site has an extensive collection of original material, including the HIV InSite Knowledge Base, a complete textbook with extensive references and related links organized by topic. Unlike many commercially oriented sites, HIV InSite’s policy is to link to the best of the Web, and thousands of links to external Web sites are incorporated into the site’s original content. It is the policy of HIV InSite to allow free, anonymous access to all of the site’s content.” (From the About page, 4/4/2014)
Created by the Nemours Foundation’s Center for Children’s Health Media, KidsHealth is actually four sites presenting information about children’s health targeted at different audiences: parents, children, teens, and educators. Each site is also translated into Spanish. The sites for children and teens are interactive and fun as well as informative. Each site addresses various aspects of children’s health at every level. Articles are reviewed by healthcare professionals and kept up-to-date.
“Lab Tests Online has been designed to help you, as a patient or family caregiver, to better understand the many clinical lab tests that are part of routine care as well as diagnosis and treatment of a broad range of conditions and diseases. If you are a medical professional, this site can serve as a quick reference tool or as a resource for keeping up with advances in laboratory science. Our Features page describes what you can find on the site and how it can benefit you. If you’d like to see what people are saying about the site, visit our special kudos section for user comments and news about the site. The site is produced by AACC (the American Association for Clinical Chemistry) and is the result of a collaboration of professional societies representing the laboratory community.” (From their About This Site page, 4/4/2014)
Your mental health is an important part of your overall health. Mental health problems can have a significant impact on your life without care and treatment. This site, created by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, tries to dispel some of the myths about mental health. It also provides vital and clearly written information about mental health issues and how to get help for your mental health concerns. The content of this website is from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, FindYouthInfo.gov, MedlinePlus and National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The site is also available en español.
“Welcome to MouthHealthy, an award-winning website created by the American Dental Association. Your oral health is an important part of your overall health, and we hope that you and your whole family will find MouthHealthy informative, fun and easy to use.” (From their website, 4/4/2014) The site is also available in Spanish and there is a site for kids.
“The mission of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) is to conduct and support medical research and research training and to disseminate science-based information on diabetes and other endocrine and metabolic diseases; digestive diseases, nutritional disorders, and obesity; and kidney, urologic, and hematologic diseases, to improve people’s health and quality of life.” (From the Mission & Vision page, 4/4/2014) The NIDDK’s website provides health information such as statistics, clinical trials, and featured resources such as links to Health Information Clearinghouses. Health information is also available en español.
“NIHSeniorHealth makes aging-related health information easily accessible for family members and friends seeking reliable, easy to understand online health information. This site was developed by the National Institute on Aging (NIA) and the National Library of Medicine (NLM) both part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). NIHSeniorHealth features authoritative and up-to-date health information from Institutes and Centers at NIH. In addition, the American Geriatrics Society provides expert and independent review of some of the material found on this Web site. Health topics include general background information, open-captioned videos, quizzes and frequently asked questions (FAQs). New topics are added to the site on a regular basis.” (From the site’s About Us page, 4/4/2014)
The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) is a federal government agency under the NIH. Its goal is to research the usefulness and safety of alternative medicine practices and to educate healthcare providers and general consumers about these practices. NCCAM provides a list of links to other federal health organizations that provide information on complementary and alternative medicine. “Decisions about your health care are important—including decisions about whether or not to use complementary health products and practices. Take charge of your health by being an informed consumer. Find out and consider what scientific studies have been done on the safety and effectiveness of the product or practice that interests you. Discuss the information with your health care provider before making a decision. These fact sheets and resources can help you think about the issues to consider and questions to ask.” (From the Be an Informed Consumer page, 4/4/2014)
“CDC.gov is [The Center for Disease Control's] primary online communication channel. Annually, there are close to 500 million page views to the site, averaging 41 million page views per month. CDC.gov provides users with credible, reliable health information on: Data and Statistics, Diseases and Conditions, Emergencies and Disasters, Environmental Health, Healthy Living, Injury, Violence and Safety, Life Stages and Populations, Travelers’ Health, Workplace Safety and Health, and more…” (From the About CDC.gov page, 4/9/2014) The site is also available in Spanish.
“The Centers for Law and the Public’s Health: A Collaborative at Johns Hopkins and Georgetown Universities has a multidimensional mission. It includes: Serving as a primary resource on public health law for public health practitioners, lawyers, legislators, policy-makers, advocates, and the public; improving understanding about how the law affects the prevention of disease and injury through research, education, training, collaboration, and dissemination of information; and promoting the development and implementation of an effective public health law infrastructure.” (From the site’s Our Mission page, 4/9/2014)
“As the Nation’s Doctor, the Surgeon General provides Americans with the best scientific information available on how to improve their health and reduce the risk of illness and injury. In 2010, the Affordable Care Act designated the Surgeon General as the Chair of the newly formed National Prevention Council, which provides coordination and leadership among 20 executive departments with respect to prevention, wellness, and health promotion activities.” (From the About Us page, 4/9/2014) On this site, read reports and publications by the Surgeon General, and learn more about the current initiatives of the Surgeon General’s office (such as BeTobaccoFree.gov).
“WHO is the directing and coordinating authority for health within the United Nations system. It is responsible for providing leadership on global health matters, shaping the health research agenda, setting norms and standards, articulating evidence-based policy options, providing technical support to countries and monitoring and assessing health trends.” (From the About WHO page, 4/9/2014) On the WHO website, find important data and statistics about the state of international health; under the Countries section you can find a breakdown of this data for all countries that are members of the United Nations. Under the Media Center and Publications Center, find important health education content from WHO such as the Disease Outbreak News.
Nutrition and Fitness
“The American Council on Exercise® is a nonprofit organization committed to enriching quality of life through safe and effective exercise and physical activity. As America’s Authority on Fitness, ACE protects all segments of society against ineffective fitness products, programs and trends through its ongoing public education, outreach and research. ACE further protects the public by setting certification and continuing education standards for fitness professionals.” (From the About ACE Fit page, 4/10/2014) You can find a great deal of excellent information on the ACE website. Find articles and training programs appropriate to your fitness level under Fitness Programs. Check the Workout and Exercise Libraries for step-by-step directions and advice on how to workout safely and effectively. Under the Healthy Living section, read articles and get advice on nutrition, including healthy recipes. ACE funds research studies on popular exercise practices, and you can find easy-to-read pdfs of the results of these studies under their Expert Insight pages.
“The Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion (CNPP), an organization of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, was established in 1994 to improve the nutrition and well-being of Americans. Toward this goal, the Center focuses its efforts on two primary objectives: Advance and promote dietary guidance for all Americans, and conduct applied research and analyses in nutrition and consumer economics.” (From the About Us page, 4/10/2014) On this website, supported by the USDA through the CNPP, find a wealth of information on healthy eating and physical activity. Interactive tools such as the Super Tracker allow you to keep track of your daily eating and exercise habits and give you tips and support to improve and maintain healthy diet and exercise. The Healthy Eating Tips section offers healthy recipes and sample menus (check out the FNCS Recipe Box for more healthy recipes from the USDA). This website is easy to use and very family friendly. Check the Related Resources section at the bottom of the site for other USDA consumer information websites. The website is also available in Spanish.
“The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is the world’s largest organization of food and nutrition professionals. The Academy is committed to improving the nation’s health and advancing the profession of dietetics through research, education and advocacy.” (From the About page, 4/10/2014) The Public section of EatRight provides informational articles and tools for people of all stages of life. One of the great features on this site are the reviews of popular diet books, weighing their pros and cons and providing insight into the health and effectiveness of the diet’s claims. Health resources on this site are also available in Spanish and Chinese.
Visit the FDA’s official website for important consumer health information on food, drugs, medical devices, vaccines, cosmetics, and tobacco products. There is also a section on Animal & Veterinary with information for pet owners and veterinarians on pet foods and drugs for animals. FDA information is also provided en español.
“The Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) and Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion (CNPP) are agencies of USDA’s Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services. FNS works to end hunger and obesity through the administration of 15 federal nutrition assistance programs including WIC, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and school meals. In partnership with State and Tribal governments, our programs serve one in four Americans during the course of a year. Working with our public, private and non-profit partners, our mission is to increase food security and reduce hunger by providing children and low-income people access to food, a healthful diet and nutrition education in a way that supports American agriculture and inspires public confidence. No American should have to go hungry.” (From the About FNS page, 4/10/2014)
Have you ever wondered how long after the sell by date you could still safely eat an egg? Do you need to find out what the minimum cooking temperature is for a turkey? FoodSafety.gov is an easy-to-use resource that provides this information and more. Learn about recent recalls of food products, find out how to keep food safe to consume in the event of an emergency, and read about the causes and health effects of food poisoning. If you cannot find the answer to your food safety question on this website, you can contact an expert. Federal agencies involved in the creation of FoodSafety.gov include the Food Safety and Inspection Service, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“Nutrition.gov provides easy access to vetted food and nutrition information from across the federal government. It serves as a gateway to reliable information on nutrition, healthy eating, physical activity, and food safety for consumers. Providing science-based dietary guidance is critical to enhance the public’s ability to make healthy choices in the effort to reduce obesity and other food related diseases. Since dietary needs change throughout the lifespan, specialized nutrition information is provided about infants, children, teens, adult women and men, and seniors. Users can find practical information on healthy eating, dietary supplements, fitness and how to keep food safe. The site is kept fresh with the latest news and features links to interesting sites.” (From the About Us page, 4/10/2014)
“The President’s Council engages, educates, and empowers all Americans to adopt a healthy lifestyle that includes regular physical activity and good nutrition. The President’s Council is made up of athletes, chefs, physicians, fitness professionals, and educators who are appointed by the President and serve in an advisory capacity through the Secretary of Health and Human Services.” (From the About PCFSN page, 4/10/2014)
“Drugsdb.com is strictly a pharmaceutical information resource for consumers and we do not promote, link to or advertise the sale of drugs and medications of any kind. We also do not condone the sale of prescription medication over the Internet without a prescription. The website is provided as a public service and is privately owned by a pharmacist. Carol Parker, Pharm.D is the Editor and oversees all content creation on the website. All content pages on Drugsdb.com are reviewed by the Editor. All material is originally prepared by contributors whose names appear hyper-linked in the upper left corner of each article. Each author has a dedicated about page which lists their qualifications, bio and articles attributed to them. The content on Drugsdb.com is reviewed extensively by the Editor for accuracy and completeness. The content is also regularly reviewed to ensure that the information provided is up to date.” (From the About Us page, 4/10/2014) Search DrugsDB for information about prescription medications, over-the-counter drugs, supplements and herbs, as well as certain food chemicals (e.g. popular artificial sweeteners).
Merck Manuals are respected pharmaceutical reference sources. The Merck Manual Home Health Handbook is available for free online to search and browse health topics. Learn about the symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment of health issues. Browse by health sections, symptoms, and find multimedia resources and tables. You can also search the Index if you are having difficulty locating your topic of interest. Other helpful resources on the website include first aid guides, pronunciations and definitions of medical terms, information about common medical tests, drug names table matching generic and prescription drug names, and measurement conversion tables. The One-Page Merck Manual of Health provides simplified guidelines for being healthy.
“This site provides objective information for oncologists and healthcare professionals, including a clinical summary for each agent and details about constituents, adverse effects, interactions, and potential benefits or problems. Evaluations of alternative or unproved cancer therapies, as well as products for sexual dysfunction are included. Our Integrative Medicine Service staff, led by a pharmacist and botanicals expert, manages this web site, which is continually updated as new information becomes available.A consumer version of each monograph also is available to help you deal with the often confusing claims made for over-the-counter products and regimens. It is important to ask your doctor or another qualified professional about possible interactions with your specific medications before taking any supplements.” (From the site’s About Us page, 4/19/2014)
“The Pillbox website was developed to aid in the identification of unknown pills (oral solid dosage form medications). It combines images of pills with appearance and other information to enable users to visually search for and identify oral solid dosage form medications. Once a pill has been identified, additional information is provided, including brand/generic name, ingredients, and the National Drug File identification number. Links are provided to NLM drug information resources, such as drug labels from DailyMed and the Drug Information Portal, which searches NIH and FDA drug information resources.” (From the site’s About Us page, 4/19/2014)
Created by the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, this website offers resources to help you keep track of your medications. Use the Medication Quick Search to find easy-to-understand information about common medications (search either by brand name or drug name). The Medication Tips and Tools section contains informative articles on various topics including how to administer different medications. My Medicine List is a downloadable document that allows you to create a list of your medications to help you keep track of what you are taking. My Medicine List is also available in Spanish.
You can use the website without downloading the app, which one first place in the U.S. Surgeon General’s Healthy App Challenge in 2012. Foods are given a grade from A to D using an algorithm favoring “minimally processed, nutrient dense foods.” Search for a brand name food item to find out how it compares with similar products, see its nutrition facts and ingredients, and share your love for your favorite foods. The resource also provides daily tips and nutrition information
The HealthTap app allows you to ask a health question and have it answered by a board-certified physician for free. You can also search for a topic and read what other physicians have written.
This simple app helps you see how your nutrition, exercise, and sleep habits affect your energy level. The app keeps track of your responses and provides healthy and helpful lifestyle tips to improve your energy level.
Health Research Information
This video tutorial, provided by the National Library of Medicine, should be the starting point for anyone who wants to look up health information online. It teaches you how to identify clues to tell whether the information provided on a website comes from a reliable source.
Search by your doctor’s name, specialty, and location to find out how many times they performed different services in 2012, how much they billed medicare for those services and how much they were reimbursed. *Note: It is difficult to search this database using the city name. Try instead searching by zip code.
Find the CDC’s data on mortality and birth rates across the nation, as well as some general health statistics.
Produced by the Kaiser Foundation, this site allows you to search by state or by topic for important statistical data about U.S. healthcare.
Return to the Online Information Desk to find more online resources. If you need additional assistance finding information, contact the Johnson City Public Library Information Desk at (423) 434-4454.