Nothing can be more frustrating than having a medical complication you cannot explain… you know that sudden itch, rush, or perhaps an ache that can sometimes feel like it’s the end of the world? So, because of your latrophobia, you decide to self-diagnose. And where else except going through the overwhelming medical resources freely available on search engines, in an attempt to find diagnosis on symptoms that relate to your illness? As a general rule, it’s imperative that when faced with a medical problem, you consult with an experienced medical professional. But then again, you could be in a crunch, or you don’t have immediate physical access to a doctor and need a quick fix. Thanks to the internet, medical help is always a click away – you just have to know where to look!
But with so many medical websites on the internet today, you want to ensure that you’ll find trusted resources when seeking medical help online. Given your situation, the sheer amount of online medical content can be confusing and overwhelming. One thing to note is that inaccurate information on the internet can be just as dangerous as dealing with a quack doctor. And this is something we know all too well, can be catastrophic to anyone’s health! So what’s the solution? To help arm yourself with the knowledge needed to lead a healthy life, we’ve prepared a handy guide on how to get medical help online.
Health Websites and Medical Apps
Before we get to the basics, it’s important to let you in on the loop. There are medical websites and then there are medical apps. Medical websites are resourceful when it comes to providing medical information. Today’s medical apps, on the other hand, have gone a long way in improving healthcare delivery like never witnessed before. Thanks to the immense improvements we’ve seen in medical tech, there several medical apps that help doctors to monitor patients, provide diagnosis, and even aid in providing treatment for certain health conditions. All the same, there are also medical websites that will offer you more than just health information.
Some will help bring medical help closer to you even in remote locations. Both medical apps and websites can help provide you with instant medical when you need it. In emergencies or when you’re too sick/hurt to even walk or drive to your nearest healthcare provider, Matt Heistan from AZ IV Medics says that medical drips with medicine and drugs and other forms of mobile IV therapy can easily be delivered to your home, all thanks to medical apps and websites. This way, you can get quick relief without having to incur commuting expenses or beating yourself up trying to move when you’re too sick to manage. This is actually one of those ways technology can help save lives. But you just have to know where to look, right? As for medical apps, always stick to the ones available on PlayStore or AppStore but when dealing with a medical website, you’ll want to adhere to the following:
Vetting The Medical Website
There are hundreds if not thousands of medical websites on the internet today. While this is the case, they all claim to provide reliable medical information that is free and readily available. The only way to be sure a website provides accurate information or professional services is to vet them. But how exactly do you do that?
As you search the internet, you’ll likely find websites that are not familiar and not well known. While not every medical website out there is bad for you, you still want to ensure that it’s going to help your quality of life. You’ll be surprised to know that nearly 80% of patients will search the internet before they see a doctor. In a way, this has helped to improve the doctor-patient experience. In addition to this, the majority of patients today are more informed about what ails them and how they can better manage their conditions. Vetting a medical website involves the following:
1. Determine The Website’s Sponsors
Running a website costs money. Any website needs a solid source of funding to keep it on the search engine. So, the first thing you need to do is determine who funds the medical website. Determining the managing entity behind a website is crucial. There are many ways to identify a website’s sponsor but the most common one is to check its homepage web address (URL) and its footer notes. For example:
- To identify a government website – .gov
- To identify a commercial website – .com
- To identify non-profit organization – .org
- To identify an educational website – .edu
Government-funded websites (.gov) and those funded by non-governmental organizations (.org) are most trusted and in addition to this, you can be sure that the information found in such websites is from credible sources.
2. Determine The Authors
More often than not, identifying an author or contributor on a website may or may not be easy. Nevertheless, it’s critical when choosing a medical website. You want to know if the author of the content is an expert in the field of medicine and what their main objectives and goals are. Again, it’s important to also determine if the health information provided on the website is reviewed by healthcare professionals. This helps to know when the information was last reviewed and the source. Needless to mention, you will also want to consider reading online testimonials and reviews on and about the website. While not everyone will have the same medical experiences, testimonies from different users may, in a way, help to keep you at ease.
3. When Was The Information Updated?
Especially those that cover medical content, websites need to be updated regularly. The world of medicine evolves every day with new developments and research breakthroughs being discovered every tick of the clock. A medical website, therefore, needs to keep up with the current treatment trends. Usually, the bottom of the webpage may have a date of the last time the information was updated. Not every old information is invaluable, but then again, evidence based on the most current information may be the best for you.
Any medical website needs to provide you with real-time diagnostic solutions. One thing to look for in a medical website is the availability of online customer service. This should come in the form of real-time medical doctor-on-call services. Some health problems may require urgent medical attention while others may not.
Consider The First Few Pages
When searching the internet for the best medical site, it helps to prioritize the very first websites on the search engine results pages. More often than not, top health sites will be in the very first pages of Google depending on what you search for. Also, some websites are dedicated to specific diseases. This helps to avoid confusion when it comes to self-examination and diagnosis and can be a handy tip when seeking medical help online.
Protecting Your Privacy
Some medical websites may ask that you provide personal information. Before doing so, it’s important to know how this information will be used and why you need to provide it in the first place. But as the first rule of thumb, never disclose your social security number unless you’re sure that you’re on a trusted site. In addition to this, when browsing, avoid the temptation of clicking unknown links. Before doing so, point your mouse on the link and it’ll tell you if the link will take you to a reputable site or webpage.
Finally, an engaged and educated patient is always one that is willing to find the relevant information before visiting a doctor. However, you want to be careful where your information comes from. The above guide will go a long way in providing you with the basic guidelines when it comes to getting medical help online.