Top Ten Most Useful Websites for Personal Health

logobig1The Medical Library Association each year evaluates and lists the top ten sites for personal health use. Whether you are recommending a site to a patient, or using one for yourself, these ten are “best bets!”

(Sites are listed in alphabetical, NOT ranked, order.)

The Consumer and Patient Health Information Section (CAPHIS) of MLA evaluates web sites based on the following criteria: credibility, sponsorship/authorship, content, audience, currency, disclosure, purpose, links, design, interactivity, and disclaimers.

From Adenoids to Zoonomia: A New Exhibit at Dana

From Adenoids to Zoonomia: Selections from Dana’s Medical History Collection is now on view in the Dana Medical Library’s exhibit case. This exhibit features instruments and books from the Medical History Collection.

med-history-exhibit-0101Dana’s Medical History Collection contains many fine examples of medical instruments, including these curettes and forceps used to remove the adenoids, ca. 1850s-1900.

The Medical History Collection focuses on Vermont medical history.med-history-exhibit-011 Many midwives have practiced in Vermont over the years, and pictured here are several examples of textbooks on midwifery from the mid to late 1800s. The pelvimeter pictured at right was created around 1899.

Phrenology is the pseudo-science of determining a person’s personality traits by studying the bumps and fissures on his or her skull. Popular in the 19th century, many textbooks and monographs have been written on the subject, including those pictured here.

med-history-exhibit-0141

med-history-exhibit-008Zoonomia was Erasmus Darwin’s [Charles Darwin’s grandfather] most important work containing a system of pathology, and a treatise on “generation” which foreshadowed his grandson’s theory of evolution. The Medical History Collection at Dana has a copy of the 3rd American edition of this 2 volume work from 1803 [pictured left].

From Adenoids to Zoonomia: Selections from Dana’s Medical History Collection will be on exhibit through April. For more information about the Library’s Medical History Collection, see http://library.uvm.edu/dana/about/collections/medhist.html.

Healthy Web Surfing from MedlinePlus

mpluslinkmedWhether you are a health care practitioner who wants to help your patients find higher quality information on their own, or you just want to be more discerning in your own search for health information, look no further. MedlinePlus has developed a Guide to Healthy Web Surfing:

Consider the sourceUse recognized authorities

Know who is responsible for the content.

  • Look for an “about us” page. Check to see who runs the site: is it a branch of the Federal Government, a non-profit institution, a professional organization, a health system, a commercial organization or an individual.
  • There is a big difference between a site that says, “I developed this site after my heart attack” and one that says, “This page on heart attack was developed by health professionals at the American Heart Association.”
  • Web sites should have a way to contact the organization or webmaster. If the site provides no contact information, or if you can’t easily find out who runs the site, use caution.

Focus on qualityAll Web sites are not created equal

Does the site have an editorial board? Is the information reviewed before it is posted?

  • This information is often on the “about us” page, or it may be under the organization’s mission statement, or part of the annual report.
  • See if the board members are experts in the subject of the site. For example, a site on osteoporosis whose medical advisory board is composed of attorneys and accountants is not medically authoritative.
  • Look for a description of the process of selecting or approving information on the site. It is usually in the “about us” section and may be called “editorial policy” or “selection policy” or “review policy.”
  • Sometimes the site will have information “about our writers” or “about our authors” instead of an editorial policy. Review this section to find out who has written the information.

Be a cyberskepticQuackery abounds on the Web

Does the site make health claims that seem too good to be true? Does the information use deliberately obscure, “scientific” sounding language? Does it promise quick, dramatic, miraculous results? Is this the only site making these claims?

  • Beware of claims that one remedy will cure a variety of illnesses, that it is a “breakthrough,” or that it relies on a “secret ingredient.”
  • Use caution if the site uses a sensational writing style (lots of exclamation points, for example.)
  • A health Web site for consumers should use simple language, not technical jargon.
  • Get a second opinion! Check more than one site.

Look for the evidenceRely on medical research, not opinion

Does the site identify the author? Does it rely on testimonials?

  • Look for the author of the information, either an individual or an organization. Good examples are “Written by Jane Smith, R.N.,” or “Copyright 2003, American Cancer Society.”
  • If there are case histories or testimonials on the Web site, look for contact information such as an email address or telephone number. If the testimonials are anonymous or hard to track down (“Jane from California”), use caution.

Check for currencyLook for the latest information

Is the information current?

  • Look for dates on documents. A document on coping with the loss of a loved one doesn’t need to be current, but a document on the latest treatment of AIDS needs to be current.
  • Click on a few links on the site. If there are a lot of broken links, the site may not be kept up-to-date.

Beware of biasWhat is the purpose? Who is providing the funding?

Who pays for the site?

  • Check to see if the site is supported by public funds, donations or by commercial advertising.
  • Advertisements should be labeled. They should say “Advertisement” or “From our Sponsor.”
  • Look at a page on the site, and see if it is clear when content is coming from a non-commercial source and when an advertiser provides it. For example, if a page about treatment of depression recommends one drug by name, see if you can tell if the company that manufactures the drug provides that information. If it does, you should consult other sources to see what they say about the same drug.

Protect your privacyHealth information should be confidential

Does the site have a privacy policy and tell you what information they collect?

  • There should be a link saying “Privacy” or “Privacy Policy.” Read the privacy policy to see if your privacy is really being protected. For example, if the site says “We share information with companies that can provide you with useful products,” then your information isn’t private.
  • If there is a registration form, notice what types of questions you must answer before you can view content. If you must provide personal information (such as name, address, date of birth, gender, mother’s maiden name, credit card number) you should refer to their privacy policy to see what they can do with your information.

Consult with your health professional–Patient/provider partnerships lead to the best medical decisions.

These tips provided by MedlinePlus at http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/healthywebsurfing.html.

Lunch and Learn Series Spring Schedule

Bring your lunch and your questions to the Dana Library Conference Room for our Brown Bag Lunch and Learn sessions, Wednesdays at noon.

EndNote

Learn the basics of EndNote. This demonstration could include creating a list of references in EndNote, downloading records from online databases such as PubMed, creating a bibliography, or adding citations to a paper using EndNote and Microsoft Word. The last 15 minutes is reserved for in-depth questions.

Wednesday
January 21, 2008
Noon-1pm

CINAHL
CINAHL® (Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature) has switched to a new interface. Find out how to search using CINAHL subject headings, and enjoy the many searching improvements included in this new version.

Wednesday
January 28, 2009
Noon-1pm

Search the Biomedical Literature with PubMed or OvidMEDLINE
Bring questions about search techniques for using this leading database of the medical literature.

Wednesday
February 4, 2009
Noon-1pm

Keep Current With News & Research:RSS, blogs, and tagging.
Come with specific journals, subjects, or authors that you’d like to create alerts for, and we’ll help you set them up!

Wednesday
February 11, 2009
Noon-1pm

EndNote
Learn the basics of EndNote. This demonstration could include creating a list of references in EndNote, downloading records from online databases such as PubMed, creating a bibliography, or adding citations to a paper using EndNote and Microsoft Word. The last 15 minutes is reserved for in-depth questions.

Wednesday
February 18, 2009
Noon-1pm

Find Answers Quickly At The Point Of Care
Bring your clinical questions to explore databases designed to directly answer those questions. Databases may include UpToDate, Dynamed, Micromedex, Medline and CINAHL.

Wednesday
February 25, 2009
Noon-1pm

CINAHL
CINAHL® (Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature) has switched to a new interface. Find out how to search using CINAHL subject headings, and enjoy the many searching improvements included in this new version.

Wednesday
March 4, 2009
Noon-1pm

Search the Biomedical Literature with PubMed or OvidMEDLINE
Bring questions about search techniques for using this leading database of the medical literature.

Wednesday
March 18, 2009
Noon-1pm

EndNote
Learn the basics of EndNote. This demonstration could include creating a list of references in EndNote, downloading records from online databases such as PubMed, creating a bibliography, or adding citations to a paper using EndNote and Microsoft Word. The last 15 minutes is reserved for in-depth questions.

Wednesday
March 25, 2009
Noon-1pm

Google Scholar
Share favorite sites and handy tips.

Wednesday
April 1, 2009
Noon-1pm

NIH Public Access Policy Compliance
Review procedures and tools at UVM.

Wednesday
April 8, 2009
Noon-1pm

EndNote
Learn the basics of EndNote. This demonstration could include creating a list of references in EndNote, downloading records from online databases such as PubMed, creating a bibliography, or adding citations to a paper using EndNote and Microsoft Word. The last 15 minutes is reserved for in-depth questions.

Wednesday
April 15, 2009
Noon-1pm

Our workshops are open to UVM and FAHC faculty, staff and students.

We can custom design a workshop for you, for your class, or for your workgroup. Workshops can be held in the Library or in another more convenient location for you. Call 656-4415 or email donna.omalley@uvm.edu for more information or to schedule a session.

Workshops on these topics are readily available, or request a customized combination of topics:

PubMed
Google
Ovid Medline
CINAHL
EndNote
PsycInfo
Electronic Journal Troubleshooting
Evidence-Based Practice Tools
Navigating the Virtual Library    Citation and E-Journal Troubleshooting
MD Consult
FirstCONSULT
Clinical Pharmacology
UpToDate
Advanced MEDLINE
Consumer Health on the Web
Web of Science

Questions? Call 656-2201, or send an email to danaref@uvm.edu.

Dana Medical Library Hours – Spring Semester 2009

The hours for the Spring 2009 semester will be as follows:

These hours are effective between Monday  January 5, 2009 and Thursday July 2, 2009.f_springflowem_a7d1d492

Mon-Thu – 7:30 am – 12 midnight
Fri – 7:30 am – 9 pm
Sat – 9 am – 9 pm
Sun – 9 am – 12 midnight

Exceptions

Martin Luther King Day
Monday January 19, 2009 (University Holiday): 9am-5pm

President’s Day
Monday February 16, 2009 (University Holiday): 9am-5pm

Memorial Day Weekend
Saturday May 23 9am-5pm
Sunday May 24 9am-5pm
Monday May 25 (University Holiday): closed

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