Patient Education |
Finding Internet Info
How to find reliable ear, nose and throat information on the Internet
The Internet is a powerful tool and an excellent source for all types of information. Many Internet sites contain information about medical conditions and health care.
A good site can provide additional and valuable information about your condition, and enhance understanding of your diagnosis or your treatment. By learning more about your condition, you can spend more time with your physician discussing details of your care and more effectively participate in the medical decision making process.
While the Internet is very useful for finding health care information, it is important to be aware of its limitations and potential risks. Here are some facts to consider:
How do I know if medical information on the Internet is accurate and reliable?
Determining whether health information on the Internet is accurate and reliable can be difficult, even for practicing physicians. Professional appearing sites may contain inaccurate information, or may be biased towards commercial interests that support the site. Meanwhile, unprofessional appearing sites may potentially contain accurate information.
There are several keys to finding and using accurate health care information on the Internet:
What are some credible sources of otolaryngology (ear, nose, & throat) information on the Internet?
There are many websites that contain educational materials about otolaryngology disorders. Here is a list of some very credible (and free) health information sites:
The American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery is the largest organization that represents ear, nose, and throat specialists, and its website has many resources including a section on patient education.
The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders is the division of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), that is "mandated to conduct and support biomedical and behavioral research and research training in the normal and disordered processes of hearing, balance, smell, taste, voice, speech, and language." The site has information about specific health topics, clinical trials, and research news.
CancerNet is a service of the National Cancer Institute, a division of the NIH. This site has information about all types of cancer (including cancer of the head and neck), testing, treatment, clinical trials, and research. There are also resources for coping with cancer and for support of cancer patients.
MEDLINEplus is a service from the National Library of Medicine. The site includes links to other credible health sites selected by the National Library of Medicine. The site also allows you to search MEDLINE, the largest and most accurate database of the scientific medical literature. Additionally, the site has a guide to more than 9,000 prescription and over-the-counter medications.
How can I protect my privacy online when looking at health information?
As an Internet user, you should be concerned about your privacy, and how your personal information is handled online. It is very important to keep current with the latest issues related to electronic privacy. Here are a several things you should do:
How can I access my otolaryngologist's website?
If a member of the AAO-HNS maintains a practice website, it is listed with his or her address and fax number through the easy-to-use "Find an Otolaryngologist" search engine. Patients can search for physicians in their area using a variety of search options.