These days, you can Google pretty much anything and get answers to any questions you might have instantly. The internet is the gold mine of information Are Healthy Tips on the Internet Worthy?. However, the fact that anyone and everyone is free to create a website or blog about anything they deem fit leaves a big question about the accuracy of the information available online.
Whether you need directions to a restaurant in town, you are looking for cooking tips and recipes, or you are searching for a review about ready clean herbal cleanse, there is always information to answer your question online.
When you enter a keyword on Google or any other search engine, you will end up with thousands of search results, many of which may or may not be relevant to what you are searching for. And even if they are relevant, how worthy or reliable are these websites and the information they contain?
More people are turning to the internet today for medical advice and tips to stay healthy. Contrary to popular advice not to Google your symptoms, many patients tend to find it more convenient to simply check the internet for what could be ailing them and look for ways to fix it on their own rather than visit a hospital. Therefore, it is important to ask if one can confidently go by these tips.
The Accuracy of Online Medical Tips
Despite the widespread use of the internet to get medical advice and health tips about disease symptoms, treatment options, disease prevention, and dietary advice, there is still generally uncertainty about the accuracy of the tips provided by so-called authority websites, said Alexander L. from best essay writing services.
In order to determine the accuracy of sources that post medical tips and advice online, a study was carried out by Dr Rachel Moon and colleagues. The research was published in the Journal of Pediatrics. The study’s title is “Safe Infant Sleep Recommendations on the Internet: Let’s Google It”. It addresses this question by focusing on the accuracy of online information regarding the question of infant safety. The results of the study provide a glimpse into the nature of internet search results and their reliability.
The study tested the accuracy of search results against official guidelines published by the American Academy of Pediatrics on how to reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and other accidental sleep-related deaths in infants. Although there are a lot of guidelines and studies like this online that are written by medical professionals which can be considered authority information about various topics, they are mostly written in complex medical jargon which means people who search for practical medical advice online are unlikely to read them. Instead, they’ll read and follow information published on other sites that are presented when they search for information on search engines.
The research by Dr Moon and colleagues focused on testing the accuracy of information posted on 1300 websites based on 13 keywords and search phrases. They crosschecked the results from Google Search engine against established AAP recommendations as standard.
What We Know about the Accuracy of Online Health Tips
From the search results on the first few pages of Google which were analyzed, we can conclude that not all health tips you see on the internet can be trusted. The analysis revealed that 28.1% of the websites assessed contained inaccurate tips, while 28.4% of the website contained answers that were not even medically relevant at all.
A similar study carried out in 2010 also shows that the accuracy of search results depends largely on the question you ask. For instance, search results relating to the phrase “infant cigarette smoking”, yielded 82% accurate search results while results relating to the phrase “infant home monitors” yielded only 18% accurate results. Questions regarding popular topics and common talking points are more likely to be answered accurately by generic health websites.
Accuracy of Results Depend on the Website
Another important piece of information revealed by this study is the fact that the accuracy of search results depends on the type of sources you consult. Out of the websites analyzed, 19% were product review sites, 19% were websites of specific companies or interest groups Are Healthy Tips on the Internet Worthy?.
The study revealed that you are less likely to find accurate health information on product review websites (for obvious reasons). The accuracy of news websites is low as well. On the flip side, the sites you can trust are the websites belonging to the government and national organizations. Such websites showed the highest level of accuracy.
As revealed by a study published in the Archives of Disease in Childhood Journal, websites of educational establishments and companies are also likely to present accurate information. Sites owned by reputable individuals also performed very well in terms of accuracy.
The key takeaway from all of these is that online health tips should always be taken with a pinch of salt Are Healthy Tips on the Internet Worthy?. The accuracy of the information you can get online depends on the questions you ask and the sources you check. It is never advisable to only go by the advice you get from the internet, especially when it concerns sensitive topics. You should only rely on authority websites and check multiple sources to be sure. See a doctor if you are not sure of anything regarding your health.
Hannah Gilbert is a professional editor, content strategist, and a part of gahmj team. Apart from writing, Mary is passionate about hiking and gaming. Feel free to contact her via Facebook.
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