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Steps for Identifying Medical Misinformation Online
Often, the first place people go when they’re thinking about their health is the internet. With so much information, and sometimes misinformation out there, we’ve created this guide to help you determine what’s fact and what’s fiction.
Don’t Let Medical Misinformation Online Stop You From Prioritizing Your Health
Having the information you need to feel confident about prioritizing your health can be one of the first steps you take on your path to saying ‘My Health Can’t Wait.” But with so much information out there, it can be difficult to determine what’s fact and what’s fiction. In a world full of information, and sometimes misinformation, here’s a guide with some key things to remember the next time you read something online.
3 Steps to Identify Online Medical Misinformation*
1) Look Past the Headline: Sensationalized headlines or memes may not give you the full story and may not be fully supported by the rest of the article that’s being shared. Be sure to read the entire article so you are fully informed.
2) Find the Source Within the Source: Once you’ve read the full article, check what resources are being used. This will help you see where the information is coming from and determine whether the references substantiate the claims in the article.
3) Remember that Reputation Matters: Not all resources are created equal. It’s best to trust reputable sources like the CDC, AMA, or peer reviewed, scientific journals over other sources of information.
When in doubt, ask a professional, not the internet
Your doctor knows your specific health situation better than an internet search ever will. If you have questions, prioritize a discussion with your doctor. Not sure where to start? Visit myhealthcantwait.com for discussion guides, FAQs, telehealth 101 resources and more to help you get the information you need to prioritize your health and pursue care with confidence.
*We consulted sources like the NIH1, CDC2 and the World Health Organization3 on these recommendations.
1. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. “Finding and Evaluating Online Resources.” NCCIH, Jan. 2018, www.nccih.nih.gov/health/finding-and-evaluating-online-resources. Accessed 3 Nov. 2020.
2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Social Scuttlebutt? Be Prepared to Stay Informed in an Emergency | | Blogs | CDC. 18 Nov. 2019, blogs.cdc.gov/publichealthmatters/2019/11/socialmedia/. Accessed 3 Nov. 2020.
3. World Health Organization. “Countering Misinformation about COVID-19.” Www.Who.Int, www.who.int/news-room/feature-stories/detail/countering-misinformation-about-covid-19. Accessed 3 Nov. 2020.
The information on this site is for educational purposes only and is not medical advice. Always talk to your doctor before you make decisions about your health.
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