Class Teaches Consumers to Navigate the Internet for Health Information
A medical librarian at Santa Rosa's Redwood Health Library has begun to offer two-hour classes on computer-based medical searches, the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat reports. During a recent class, librarian Eris Weaver told her students that it is relatively easy for anyone to "publish" information on the Internet, explaining that it is important for users to "discern what's valid, reputable information versus what's published by nonmedical professionals or someone with a financial interest." Weaver added that surveys show that up to 85% of Internet users have searched for medical information, but that only about half of them trust the advice they find. In fact, much of the medical information on the Internet is "inaccurate, incomplete, outdated or even dangerous," Weaver said. She recommended medlineplus.gov, a site created by the National Library of Medicine, as a good place for beginners and people who do not need technical information. Medlineplus offers users the latest news on medical advances, a list of organizations dealing with specific diseases and information about clinical trials. For people desiring more advanced, in-depth searches, Internet Grateful Med at http://igm.nlm.nih.gov is a good choice, Weaver added. That site offers access to more than nine million articles published in 3,900 journals (Parmer, Santa Rosa Press-Democrat, 3/28).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.