Patient guide to www

Patient Guide to the World Wide Web Patient Internet Evaluation Guide Trisha Torrey explains that it is really easy to get lost in the web of information but , “ A smart patient knows how to find the information she needs, how to determine what is credible, reliable and objective, and recognizes when its time to discard or ignore the information that is phony, and may be dangerous. “ But how exactly does one do that? The expert advise according to Ms. Torrey (2010) is to:
1. Remember that anyone can publish anything they want on the internet, true or false. Its up to you to determine which information is true and credible.
2. Trust your intuition. Like the old adage, if it seems too good to be true, then it probably is. Stay as objective as you can.
3. Stick with well respected websites for the most credible and objective information
4. Always find at least a second reference to confirm your findings. Find a third reference too if you have the time. There are a few exceptions to this rule. But in general, if you cant find the information duplicated in more than 2 or 3 references, then it is questionable at best.
5. Learn to seperate fact from fiction. Sometimes this is difficult because the evidence that exists may be minimal.
6. Testimonials are suspect. If you find a website that quotes various patients about the effectiveness of a treatment or therapy, then you can; t be sure those testimonials are real.
7. Make sure the information you find is the most current available. . Sometimes you will find that studies conflict each other, or newer information trumps old information.
8. Review unusual findings, and review any information that will influence your decision with your doctor.
As a caregiver, your job is to find the most accurate and useful websites pertaining to the condition of your patient. In order to use the internet search engines effectively, you need to know how to assess the websites you are reading. We hope that the guidelines above can help you remain healthy and strong over the coming years.
Scenario and Recommendations
My sister was diagnosed with uncontrolled Gastro Esophageal Reflux Disease (GERD). The Gastroenterologist prescribed proton pump inhibitors (Nexium) in order to control pain and dissipate stomach acid . The doctor also advised a lifestyle and diet change for the patient. We asked the doctor for more information about her illness and the lifestyle and diet changes that it will entail. The doctor advised that we check out the Mayo Clinic website located at : http://www. mayoclinic. com/health/gerd/DS00967/DSECTION= treatments-and-drugs for more information about the drugs, treatments, and lifestyle changes that will be necessary in order to control the illness.
The reason that he recommended Mayo Clinic as a web source is because the hospital is one of the most highly respected and trusted research hospitals in the country. Their website looks highly professional and the content is overseen by highly qualified Mayo Clinic staffers. The website itself contains further information about GERD including lifestyle and home remedies plus an alternative medicine guide for patients who prefer a holistic type of treatment. Even though the website contains some advertising in it, there is an advertising disclaimer / policy located within the page that explains why Mayo Clinic has decided to accept advertising for its website. None of the ads are related to GERD and therefore does not seem like the Mayo Clinic is recommending and specific treatments for the illness. More importantly, the information contained within the site is the most current that can be found as it is dated May 2011 and was easily confirmed by a separate Google search.
We decided to look for additional information on the internet and came across the WebMD GERD website. Unlike the Mayo Clinic website, there was nothing trustworthy about the WebMd website. The first thing we noticed upon reaching the website was all the GERD treatment related advertising and “ related articles” that linked to other products that were indirectly being endorsed by the website. Discovering that the information on the website dated all the way back to 2002 did not instill a vote of confidence for the information that the site was giving us either. Overall, the website was a red flag. WebMd does not belong to any real health organization or hospital and had outdated information within.
Mayo Clinic Staff. GERD: Treatments and Drugs. (2011). In The Mayo Clinic. Retrieved from http://www. mayoclinic. com/health/gerd/DS00967/DSECTION= treatments-and-drugs
New Treatment for GERD Tested. (2002). In WebMD. Retrieved from http://www. webmd. com/heartburn-gerd/news/20021028/new-treatment-for-gerd-tested
Torrey, Trisha. Finding Credible, Reliable, Objective Health Information on the Internet. (2010). About. com. Retrieved from http://patients. about. com/od/researchandresources/a/internetcred. htm