Internet Resources: Useful or Not?

A new medical diagnosis can be scary and overwhelming.  You sit through your doctor visit and try to take it all in, but there is so much information that you cannot remember everything he tells you.  As you leave your appointment that day, you go home and try to find as much information on your new diagnosis that you can, however, you are not sure which information on the internet you can trust and what information you cannot.  Here we will discuss a few credible websites we found that can be good references as you are newly diagnosed with heart failure.

If you type “heart failure” into google you will notice that there are hundreds more website that pop up, aside from the couple that we listed.  Although, we found these sites to be helpful and credible it does not mean that these are the only ones.  Here are some tips that can help you to distinguish if other sites you find on your own are credible or not.

  1. Currency- is the website up to date? When it published and when was it last reviewed? The more recently it was reviewed, the more accurate it will be
  2. Reviewing panel- Who reviews the website? Is it by someone with credentials? If the reviewer has credentials they will be more likely to give accurate information.
  3. Relevance- Does the website discuss what it says it will? If they are getting off topic, chances are it is not the best information.
  4. Disclosures- What is the purpose of the website? Is it a non-profit organization or people who want to get your money? Nonprofit organizations give people access to information to help the public rather than get gain for themselves.
  5. Privacy Policy- Is it necessary to disclose personal information to access general information? Never give personal information without knowing first how that information will be used. Verify privacy policy which can usually be found at the bottom of the webpage so you can understand how your information will be used if given.
  6. Links- Are there a lot of links to outside websites or are the links internal? If the links are constantly linking to outside webpages it may be due to a lack of information from the initial source.

The internet can be a useful source for finding information, just be sure you are careful about which information you trust and how you use the information you find.  Using these criteria can help you to distinguish accurate information, however, these criteria are not exclusive.  If you have any questions or concerns, remember your doctor is the best source of information.


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