All sources are unreliable regardless of whether they appear to be. To estimate the reliability of a text, you must consider several publications related to the subject and the person or publisher. Is the information recent? Is it directly related to the subject? Does he provide the sources to support his ideas? Are the sources reliable? Is the purpose of the information to inform, convince, sell or entertain? Has the information been recently written and published? Is there a publication date? Finally who is responsible for the publication? Is it an author or a publisher not at all quoted?
Some topics (such as medical research and new information techniques) need to be updated to be of value to readers. However, bias and opinions even compromise recent information, preventing them from being objective and reliable. Of course, any company or person has the right to have a point of view. But that is not necessarily a point of view on which the reader can count. A person’s opinion is not necessarily enlightened. In the same way, some companies, especially those who want to sell or politicians who want the vote, want the readers to agree with their point of view.
PharmaTrust.org has started from this observation: many academic sites offer excellent information but are sometimes not very digestible and use complicated words to explain to an average user how a certain pathology works or where you can find such a drug or treatment. The PharmaTrust team has therefore decided to offer educational content while being clear and educational.
Some advertisements present credible information supporting the opinions they present. In general, objective information with a known author and / or presented by a reliable publisher is much more credible than anonymous information published by an advertisement or anonymous source. It’s up to you as a critical reader to determine the bias and source of what you read.
Information on the internet: sources to check and sites of trust
For example, think about an article posted on the internet (with the suffix .com) to describe the latest model of a car. How much factual information about the car will appear? Will the purpose be to inform the reader about the specific characteristics of the new model or to encourage them to buy it? How do terms and images influence readers about the car? Faced with these questions we decided to form an association to protect the consumer and help him know if sites are reliable or others are to be avoided. PharmaTrust.org is born of the fact that many sites put forward false information and we want to help Internet users to find the right products without falling on scams.
If you read an article from Buzzfeed, a humorous news media that likes to turn stories in a funny way, can you trust the so-called information presented in the article? Are you supposed to do it? “Buzzfeed” wants readers to laugh, not that they learn, do they? So consult the sources well before taking any information as truthful.
Several websites are published by people anonymously. Are the views of individuals as reliable as those of university or government experts citing sources?
If you consult the HHS, what is the purpose of the information? How recent is the information? How much is it factual? What does the government want citizens to know? In general, the information published by the government is current and based on reliable research even if no author is mentioned.
In general, publications printed with authors and sources mentioned tend to be reliable because they provide sources that readers can check. Similarly, web pages with the .gouv suffix (posted by the US government) are current and reliable. Databases that publish entries of encyclopedias or articles are also trustworthy, even if there are no authors mentioned. The encyclopedias modify and update the entries, cite the sources and use reliable sources.
As a reader, you must pay attention to what you see as a source of reliable information. A printed source or posted on the internet does not make it a reliable source. You can always find information in any source. As a critical reader you deserve the best, the newest and the most reliable. Be sure to sift through what you find to be sure of its reliability.
On this page PharmaTrust.org you will know:
- How can I find reliable health information?
- How should I browse health websites?
- Where can I find reliable health information?
How to check information about health
Many adults share the same opinion: “How can I trust health information found on the internet?”
There are thousands of websites related to medicine. Some provide reliable health information. Others do not. Some of the medical news is current. Others do not. Choosing which sites to trust is an important part of using the internet.
How to find reliable health information?
Normally, health sites sponsored by federal government agencies are good sources of information.You can access all government sites by going to the following site WHO (World Health Organization) which will give reference sites if you want to have health information. Several companies and schools of well-known medicines can also be good sources of information about health.
How to navigate health sites?
The home page looks like an entrance hall for the other sections of the site; however, it is possible that this is not the first page you see. The first page you will see depends on the link you click, for example, from a search engine.
Even if you do not start on the homepage, you can still use the site’s menu. In general, you can find the menu at the top of the page or along the left side. No matter where you start, you should be able to spot the name of the sponsor or site owner right away.
Questions to ask yourself before trusting a website
By searching the Internet, you will probably find sites for many health agencies and companies that are not well known. By answering the following questions you should be able to find more information on these sites. It is possible that many of these details can be found in the “About” section.
1. Who sponsors / hosts the site? Is this information easy to find?
Websites cost money. Is the source of funding clear?
Sometimes the website address can help. For example:
- US government agency sites identify with .gov suffix
- sites of educational institutions (schools, faculty or university) identify themselves with the suffix .edu
- sites of non-profit organizations identify themselves with the .org suffix
- commercial sites identify themselves with the suffix .com
2. Can you easily find the sponsor?
Reliable websites will have information for you to access the sponsor’s website or authors. An e-mail address, a free telephone number and / or a postal address should be indicated at the bottom of each page or separated in another section “About” or “Contact us”
3. Who wrote the information?
Authors and contributors are often mentioned but this is not always the case. For example, most government sites have multiple authors and contributors and instead of indicating all the names, they will instead credit the department. A contributor’s connection to the site and any financial interests he or she has in the information on the website must be clear.
Pay attention to the testimonials. Personal stories can help and be reassuring, but not everyone experiences health problems the same way. Similarly, there is a big difference between a site developed by a person interested in a topic and a site developed through scientific evidence. No information should replace the advice of a health professional.
4. Who verifies the information? Does the site have editors?
Read the “About” page to see if the experts are checking the information before publishing it. Find out if the list mentions current experts in the sector. Trusted sites tell you where health information comes from and how it has been verified.
5. When was the information written?
Look for sites that update health information. You do not want to make decisions for your health based on outdated information. Often the date will be written at the top of the page. Pages on the same site can be updated at different times. Some may be updated more often. Old information is useless. Several sites provide old articles as historical context.
Pay attention by sharing your social security number. Find out why we need your number, how will it be used and what will happen if you do not share it. Some sites, such as those for your health insurance may need your Social Security number.
7. Are your privacy rights as a consumer protected when you shop online?
If you are asked for personal information, check how it will be used. Contact the sponsor of the site by phone or email, or use the “Contact us” section of the site. Be careful when buying your products online. Unsafe websites should not protect your bank details. Look for information that the site is secure before making an online purchase. Secure websites that collect information have an “s” after the “http” in their address (https: //) and it is often necessary that you provide a username and password.
The PharmaTrust.org team is very much in touch with consumer rights because we rely on sites such as Trustpilot that offer free access to opinions and opinions of customers on products. For us, transparency must be central when dealing with a subject by not marking the gray areas or inconvenience of a certain treatment.
8. Does the site provide quick and easy solutions to your health problems? Are miracle cures promised?
Pay attention to sites and companies that claim that any of their remedy will treat many diseases. Make sure you can find other sites with the same information. Even if the site is linked to a reliable source, this does not mean that the site has the approval or support of the company – any site can link to another without permission.
Trust yourself and talk to your doctor
Use common sense and good judgment when searching for health information online. There are sites on almost all health topics and many of them have no rule regarding the monitoring of the quality of the information provided. And remember to talk to your doctor about what you learned online before making a change in your medical care.