The Ministry of Lisa Copen

Lisa Copen, Founder of Rest Ministries which serves the chronically ill, shares about mothering, illness, ministry and more.

Finding Answers Online in Sickness and in Health

Delhospitals_2It comes as no surprise to us that using the Internet for health-related, or illness-related information is a good thing. But studies like the one below continue to reinforce this. I believe this too is "a good thing." The more information we have, the more likely we are to be involved in our health and be a good advocate for it, asking questions, feeling like we have a better understanding of our illness, and knowing when to speak up–loudly some times.

Finding information on the web for your healthcare can mean anything from logging on to major health forums to find out what symptoms other people are experiencing, or going to large medical web sites like WebMD to learn more about managing our illness.

Just be sure to check the source of health information!

Another study done by Pew International Most internet users start at a general search engine when researching health and medical advice online. Just 15% of health seekers say they "always" check the source and date of the health information they find online, while another 10% say they do so "most of the time." Fully three-quarters of health seekers say they check the source and date "only sometimes","hardly ever," or "never," which translates to about 85 million Americans gathering health advice online without consistently examining the quality indicators of the information they find. (See study here.)

Having Internet "Alerts" through something Google Alers is also a way to be informed when articles or other pertinent information is available.

For example, magazine on your newstand today is the annual BEST HOSPTIAL issue, which features the best hospital for dozens of conditions. About half the magazine also feature articles to make your hospital stay comfortable and safe– from your first in-take trip to your check out time. It has many articles on topics such as why a caregiver should be present with you all the time ("Hey, just what is in that I.V. you’re giving my husband?"), why they ask for your name, birthdate and what surgery you are having until you are ready to bang your head against a gurney, to understanding your hospital bill (what are all those odd charges?)

Without the Internet, I may not have known this issue of magazine was available on the newstands until it was passed. And it’s one worth saving!




Finding Answers Online in Sickness and in Health

5/2/2006 | | Mary Madden, Susannah Fox 

Recent research from the Pew Internet & American Life Project shows that, as more Americans come online, more rely on the internet for important health information. Many Americans are deepening their connections to the internet, whether for entertainment or to help a loved one through a crisis. And though the audience for the latest DVD may be larger than the audience for clinical trial information, the impact on someone’s life in the latter case may be dramatically different in scale. Fully 58% of those who found the internet to be crucial or important during a loved one’s recent health crisis say the single most important source of information was something they found online. Source

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