The Medical Library Association provides a list of top health websites on MLA.org. The organization evaluates websites on a range of criteria, including credibility, content, recent information, authorship and interactivity. MLA provides references to general health websites such as Mayo Clinic, Medline Plus and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The association also provides special recommendations for several illnesses, including breast cancer, diabetes, heart disease, HIV/AIDS and strokes. These include the American Cancer Society and American Stroke Foundation.
Many doctors view MedlinePlus favorably on the basis of its credibility, as the site is managed by the National Institutes of Health and the U.S. National Library of Medicine, notes the Los Angeles Times. The site is both easy to read and comprehensive in its explanations of medical issues. Moreover, it provides links to additional resources that its archivists view as credible.
Doctors recommend that individuals enter more specific keywords when using search engines and exercise additional caution with websites that do not end with ".org" or ".gov," according to the Los Angeles Times. Moreover, patients should consider hospital affiliations as a sign of credibility. Individuals should also be cautious of sites with considerable advertising.
Beyond pre-prepared answers to general questions, some websites also allow users to pose questions to medical professionals for free, notes Makeuseof.com. One example is HealthTap, which offers advice from the pool of thousands of doctors vetted by the company. Individuals can provide information on their symptoms, existing conditions and medical procedures, and request information at no cost. Free questions are limited to 150 characters, but users can extend their word limit with a small donation.