Monday, 5th July 2010
More Research About Using Search Engines and Web-Based Resources for Health Information
As is always the case, Matt McGee from Search Engine Land offers an excellent summary of recent research about end users using the web to find health information. The SEL post is titled, "Doctors Warn Against Relying Too Much On Google."
The research Matt reports on says what we have heard before (but needs to be heard over and over again), health consumers in search of health info need to be careful and hopefully? use info literacy skills to review the material they find.
Here's a passage from McGee's post:
The study, published in the July 2010 issue of the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, examined the top ten search results on Google and Yahoo for ten common sports medicine diagnoses — phrases like “Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tear,” “Rotator cuff tear,” and “Tennis elbow” — and analyzed the type of pages/sites that ranked highly and the accuracy/completeness of the information.
The post goes on to summarize some results of the study and makes the point that both patients and health pros need to be careful, "by relying on commercial health sites, except for the “most reputable sites” like WebMD and eMedicine."
What ResourceShelf considers to be the top health info resource on the open web that is also under constant review is a non-commercial site.
It's MedlinePlus, MedlinePlus en Espanol, and MedlinePlus Mobile.
These service come from the National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health.
Spend 10-15 minutes clicking around and we think you'll be amazed at what you find. From interactive tutorials to an archive of video recordings of surgeries that are usually webcast live.
Perhaps what MedlinePlus is most well-known for are health topic pages where new content is added daily and older content removed.
Each item on each page is reviewed by a medical info pro at NLM. They also have access to a variety of professionals, who make up the NIH community. To put it in librarian terms, collection development of MedlinePlus and their health topic pages is constantly taking place. In fact, you can receive a daily email update with the latest additions to the collection.
Here's a health topic page for Heat Illness. You'll see resources from government agencies, professional organizations, and non-profits. Each reviewed by a MedlinePlus staff member.
Finally, this interactive map provides a directory of health libraries that can help health consumers.
See Also: What Types of Health / Medical Info Are People Looking For Online?
See Also: The GATOR Approach to Evaluating Web-Based Health Information
See Also: What Percentage of U.S. Adults Use the Internet To Find Health Care Treatment Information?
See Also: Writings and Presentations by Susannah Fox from the Pew Internet & American Life Project Are Full of Stats and Analysis by An Expert in Health Info in the Online World
See Also: "A User's Guide to Finding and Evaluating Health Information on the Web" (via Medical Library Association)