Medical Library Association 10 Most-Recommended Consumer Health Websites
MLA “Top Ten” Most Useful Consumer Health websites
Cancer.gov (http://www.cancer.gov/) is the official website for The National Cancer Institute (NCI), a component of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), one of eight agencies that compose the Public Health Service (PHS) in the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). The NCI, established under the National Cancer Act of 1937, is the Federal Government’s principal agency for cancer research and training. NCI coordinates the National Cancer Program, which conducts and supports research, training, health information dissemination, and other programs with respect to the cause, diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of cancer, rehabilitation from cancer, and the continuing care of cancer patients and the families of cancer patients.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (http://www.cdc.gov/), an agency of the Department of Health and Human Services, is dedicated to promoting “health and quality of life by preventing and controlling disease, injury, and disability.” Of special interest to the consumer are the resources about diseases, conditions, and other special topics arranged under “Health Topics A-Z,” and “Travelers’ Health,” with health recommendations for travelers worldwide. There are also sections on health topics in the news and health hoaxes. Information is also available in Spanish.
familydoctor.org (http://familydoctor.org/) is operated by the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), a national medical organization representing more than 93,700 family physicians, family practice residents and medical students. All of the information on this site has been written and reviewed by physicians and patient education professionals at the AAFP.
healthfinder® (http://www.healthfinder.gov/) is a gateway consumer health information website whose goal is “to improve consumer access to selected health information from government agencies, their many partner organizations, and other reliable sources that serve the public interest.” Menu lists on its home page provide links to online journals, medical dictionaries, minority health, and prevention and self-care. The developer and sponsor of this site is the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Department of Health and Human Services, with other agencies that also can be linked to via the site. Access to resources on the site is also available in Spanish.
HIV InSite (http://hivinsite.ucsf.edu/) is a project of the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) AIDS Research Institute. Designed as a gateway to in-depth information about particular aspects of HIV/AIDS, it provides numerous links to many authoritative sources. Subjects are arranged into “Key Topics” and the site may also be searched by key words. Many items are provided in full text, and information is available in English and Spanish.
Kidshealth® (http://www.kidshealth.org/) provides doctor-approved health information about children from before birth through adolescence. Created by The Nemours Foundation’s Center for Children’s Health Media, KidsHealth provides families with accurate, up-to-date, and jargon-free health information they can use.
MayoClinic (http://www.mayoclinic.com/) is an extension of the Mayo Clinic’s commitment to provide health education to patients and the general public. Editors of the site include more than 2,000 physicians, scientists, writers, and educators at the Mayo Clinic, a nonprofit institution with more than 100 years of history in patient care, medical research, and education. The website has added interactive tools to assist consumers in managing their health. This site supersedes the previous site, Mayo Clinic Health Oasis.
MedlinePlus (English | Spanish) (http://medlineplus.gov/) is the National Library of Medicine’s website for consumer health information. The site offers authoritative, up-to-date health information, without advertisements. A Spanish-language version, MedlinePlus en español (http://medlineplus.gov/spanish), is also available. A site for cell phones and other mobile devices is at http://m.medlineplus.gov. Additional resources include physician and hospital directories, several online medical dictionaries, interactive health tutorials, and information about prescription and over-the-counter medicines, plus herbs and supplements. A full description of all the resources available on MedlinPlus is available at <http://www.nlm.nih.gov/pubs/factsheets/medlineplus.html>.
NetWellness (http://www.netwellness.org/), a non-profit consumer health website, has been in operation for over ten years. It provides over 55,000 pages of high quality information created and evaluated by medical and health professional faculty at the University of Cincinnati, Case Western Reserve University and the Ohio State University. Its “Ask An Expert” feature is a question and answer service provided by numerous health care professionals of the three universities, who volunteer their time as a community service.
NIH SeniorHealth (http://nihseniorhealth.gov/) makes aging-related health information easily accessible for family members and friends seeking reliable, easy to understand online health information. A unique feature is that the website has a spoken language feature and also allows increases in contrast as well as size of type for easier viewing. Well-illustrated and readable, it includes some short videos and links out to MedlinePlus for additional information.