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How to find reliable health information online Posted: May 20th, 2010

By Shannon Lee

Shannon Dauphin is a freelance writer and novelist based near Nashville, Tennessee.

Type any medical term into an Internet search engine, and you'll find hundreds of websites that claim to have the most up-to-date information. But, how many of those sites are legitimate? Before you start reading a website that's full of bogus information or sales pitches, try these tips for spotting tried-and-true health information.

How to spot a reliable health information website

According to the American Accreditation Healthcare Commission, make sure the website includes these elements:

  • Look at the web address. The ending of the name is often a good indicator of what kind of information you'll find there. For example, ".gov" stands for government, while ".org" usually denotes a non-profit organization. A ".com" ending denotes a commercial site, which may or may not try to sell you something.
  • Research studies and clinical trials will support reliable medical information. Before you trust the information on any website, check for references to medical journals and similar sources, as well as reviews from medical experts.
  • Look for the copyright notice, usually at the bottom of each page of the site. You should be able to easily locate the "contact us" section, as well as the "about us" page.
  • When was the medical information last updated? A reputable site provides the most current information available and notes the date of any changes.

Choosing reputable sites for health insurance comparison

When looking for reliable information for a health insurance comparison, look for reputable websites with clear, concise information. Before you offer personal information, check the website's privacy policy to learn exactly how the company uses that information.

Carefully compare policy information when collecting health insurance quotes, and don't hesitate to use the "contact us" page to clarify information you may not understand. Bottom line--use reputable sites when researching medical information and health insurance quotes.