“Step right up here, this a here snake oil gar n teeed to sav a trip to da docta!”

Patients should use CAUTION with Healthcare Internet Websites!!

The rapidly growing field of Internet Medicine certainly gets, and will get it share of snake oil.  This topic is in the “Technology” section because it deals with how internet technology is used, for ill-intended aims of selling the snake oil.

Like any industry, the Healthcare Industry is liable to scams, shams, and outright fraud.

The informaton-seeker must be as dilgent as buying anything on the web.  Go online to check reputations, past experiences of prior users, phone, write, email.  Anything else you would do in everyday life to establish credibility.  Just because it is on the web does NOT mean it is true.  Even with a professionally designed website.

Also, here’s another way to be misled in the Health Care Field, by the famous blogger, Jonathan Richman


Talks about bending statistics

There are a tsunami of websites out there having to do with Medicine and the Internet. As Dr. Eric Topol of the West Wireless Health Institute said, one has to be beware of the updated, internet-smart
“snake oil” salemen. Like any emerging industry, the wireless health industry is ripe for unproven technologies, and fast-talking shysters. So beware, and investigate, yourself, with the aid of the net.


With the spreading power of the web, the rules and certifications, of the reliability of health information sites of the web are sure to come.  For now, there is “approval” by an organization  based in Geneva, Switzerland, called the “HON Foundation

which issues a “Code of Conduct” approval, which does NOT rate the truthfulness of the site, but that shows that the website has a name, and an address attatched to it, and that someone is responsible for the information on it, and that it is not an anonymous website.  The website must apply to this organization, and healthcare workers inspect it, to ensure the purpose of the site is within reasonable bounds.  The applying website is judged on authority of real medical professionals giving advice, and that the information is supportive, and not as a replacement, of a healtcare professional, and that it is confidential.

An approved site will have an icon like the following:

(NOTE: This website has applied for approval, and this seal does NOT indicate approval, as of yet, but is for educational purposes only)

“It is the oldest and the most used ethical and trustworthy code for medical and health related information available on the Internet.” (wiki)

Bottom Line: don’t believe everything you see and hear on the web.  Put it to the same test as anything else you see.  Happy Hunting!



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