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Obtaining Medical Information Online

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In today’s world, obtaining information about a lot of things is as easy as 1-2-3. Internet has become the most popular tool in conducting research. For people seeking medical information, internet is the cheapest way of being informed of different health care issues and possible treatment options. The question now is “Are we sure that the medical information that we get from the internet is reliable?”

There are reasons to believe that seeking medical advice online has some advantages. Online medical reports, journals and advices empower the patients by giving the latter education about medicine. Internet produces what is called “patient power” that helps in educating the patients and gets them involved in certain clinical decisions. In effect, there is a possible cut in health care costs as there could be a reduction of doctor visits for minor maladies like sore throat (Ojalvo, 1996).

On the other hand, obtaining medical information from the internet poses several dangers. The people’s failure to verify the sources of medical information makes opportunists establish misrepresentation on the internet. In Massachusetts v. Marjorie Phillips, a civil action was brought against a woman who cited an alleged research to sell cure for AIDS over the internet (Ojalvo, 1996). Internet users may be deceived to buy phony medical products online. To make sure that we are not being deceived, we must verify the source of the information and make sure that this source is reliable. We also have to check the reliability of the evidence that the findings are founded on. Knowing whether the site is funded and whether there is a possible conflict of interest might also help. This is because we have to ensure that the website does not have an unscrupulous intention of selling phony medical products (Cancerindex.org, 2003).

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