Popular Patient Education Sites
WebMD provides quality, comprehensive health resources for consumers, physicians, nurses, and educators. The site includes news, chat forums, health quizzes and consumer product updates, as well as an online Personal Health Record accessible by authorized providers and approved by some health plans.
The Mayo Clinic serves up clear and accurate information in useful categories: diseases and conditions, drugs and supplements, treatment decisions, and healthy living. The site has a particularly useful "Drugs and Supplements" area that allows users to search or browse alphabetically (very useful when a user's not sure how to spell a word) for prescription and OTC drugs in the Micromedex database, and herbs and supplements in the Natural Standard database. A variety of calculators, self-assessments and easy-to-understand treatment decision guides are available for common ailments and injuries.
American Heart Association
A variety of targeted monthly newsletters offer the latest news and advice on all aspects of heart health, including heart attack, cholesterol, blood pressure, arrhythmia, peripheral artery disease, healthy diets and much more. Heart Profilers is a confidential online heart treatment decision tool that allows users to input personal information and receive a report reviewing treatment options, possible side effects, success rates and questions to ask the doctor. Links to medical journal articles and research studies written in an easy-to-understand format are also provided.
PRIMED Patient Education Center
PRIMED Patient Education Center provides health information written by Harvard Medical School and targeted to consumers. Of particular note are the many accessible brochures that educate about common diseases and conditions. These are readily available via clear navigation and are offered in an easily downloadable and printable PDF format. PRIMED Patient Education Center also offers glossaries, links to other resources and interactive tools for patients to assess their knowledge and risk.
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
Of particular note at the NIH's National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases website are the easy-to-read publications, many offered in a simple and direct "What I need to know..." FAQ-style format available as Web pages or printable PDF documents that are useful as handouts. Topics include diabetes, hepatitis, colon polyps, irritable bowel syndrome, peptic ulcers, kidney stones, urinary tract infections and prostate problems, among many others.
For Kids and Parents
This site is a 2006 Webby People's Voice Award winner. While rather more openly commercial than some other health information websites, this site offers tools and useful information on pregnancy, birthing and parenting in an engaging "pop culture" format and style.
KidsHealth provides doctor-approved, age-appropriate health information for parents, kids and teens. Created by The Nemours Foundation's Center for Children's Health Media, KidsHealth provides families with culturally relevant, accurate, up-to-date, and jargon-free health information, in English and Spanish.
AIDSinfo is a HON-accredited website published by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and provides comprehensive HIV/AIDS treatment information. Unlike many other HIV/AIDS sites, the site is clearly organized, easy-to-read and use and offers useful information (in English and Spanish), tools and search capabilities that allow users to look for clinical trials and search the drug database. In addition, patients and providers can sign up to be automatically emailed the most recent HHS guidelines documents for the medical management of HIV infection and issues surrounding HIV infection.
NIH's Medline Plus
The interactive health education tutorials at Medline Plus educates patients about the most common procedures, diseases and conditions, all in easy-to-understand language and graphics. A complementary quiz function can be enabled or disabled. Also available in Spanish.
NIH's National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine
The NIH's National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine offers information on dietary supplements, alternative treatments and therapies, as well as fact sheets on the basics of complementary, alternative and integrative approaches. Also available in Spanish.
Lab Test Information
Lab Tests Online
Peer-reviewed, non-commercial, patient-centered information on a huge variety of clinical laboratory tests that is browse-able by tests, conditions/diseases and life stage screening. Provided in English, Spanish, German and Polish with several other languages in development.
This site is published by the not-for-profit Immunization Action Coalition and provides comprehensive, easy-to-understand vaccination information and mandates in English and Spanish. Prominent links on the home page address public concerns about vaccine safety.
Looking to find other reliable health information resources on the Web?
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
CDC.gov is CDC's primary online communication channel. Annually, there are close to 500 million page views to the site, averaging 41 million page views per month. CDC.gov provides users with credible, reliable health information on: Data and Statistics, Diseases and Conditions, Emergencies and Disasters, Environmental Health, Healthy Living, Injury, Violence and Safety, Life Stages and Populations, Travelers' Health, Workplace Safety and Health, and more
National Institutes of Health
The National Institutes of Health provides an up-to-date, accurate and well-organized patient health information "online catalog." Visitors may choose a variety of ways to browse and search for information on diseases, conditions and symptoms. Simple list type navigation reduces distractions.
Web leader Google offers a new option for identifying useful health information on the Internet. Google has teamed with health website accreditation organization HON to include "reliability" as one of the indices that ranks health information pages. The best results are displayed in a simple interface that allows users to search only among health sites and to quickly drill down to specific topics.
Resources to help your patients evaluate online health information
The Medical Library Association's User's Guide to Finding and Evaluating Health Information on the Web