When you look online to answer a question about health, there are many things you could be searching for: information about your personal symptoms, ways to improve your own diet and fitness, news from trusted and unbiased sources, the latest from prominent organizations and government agencies, or the opinions of healthcare leaders.
We’ve rounded up a list of the top five types of health questions asked online, as well as some stand-out examples in each category.
- Yikes, what’s up with this rash on my arm? Wow, does that mole look weird? Could I be allergic to chocolate? What exactly is a cluster headache, and how many is normal? Many, many people use the internet as a way to triage a new medical issue, find more information about something that’s too embarrassing to bring up to their doctor, or oftentimes find reassurance about something that seems worrisome. WebMD is the leader here but the Mayo Clinic has a useful site too.
- How can I lose weight or improve my own health? There is a wealth of information online about ways to cut calories, give up gluten, or become a yogi. These blogs, often with recipe guides, workout videos, and shopping lists, bring their readers the best in healthy eating and workout inspiration. Ranging from paleo to vegetarian to pilates to training, you’re guaranteed to find something to match your interests, goals and effort level.
- What’s the latest news around Obamacare? You may want more information about the recent Supreme Court ruling about the Affordable Care Act, or questions about the recent vaccination bill in California. Sites with the best reporting are most often associated with a bigger media presence, like the New York Times Well site , Vox’s health and science section, and NPR’s health blog Shots. Another trusted resource we’ve found is the Kaiser Family Foundation for longer policy analysis and research.
- Who are the players in healthcare or public health, and what are they up to? You’ll find a huge amount of variance in the content here, which will match the mission of the organization, which can include grant-making foundations, research think tanks, and government agencies. For national public health, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is a great resource for recent innovations, successes and grant opportunities. Those in global public health may enjoy PLOS.orgs blog, written by experts in the field. If you’re in the policy space, you’ll want to monitor some of the information on the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ blog.
- Who are the leaders in public health and healthcare, and what do they think? There are some really smart, passionate people writing about public health, health policy, and the issues around transforming care delivery. You may be interested in reading Dr. Atul Gawande’s work around healthcare improvement and larger cultural shifts in medicine. Dr. Mike Evans is a Canadian doctor who makes fun videos about all sorts of health issues, like the importance of walking and what binge drinking really means.
What do you think about the list we made? Do you agree? Disagree? Have a great resource to add? Let us know in the comments!