Fact or Fiction: How Reliable are Medical Articles in the Internet

Reliable are Medical Articles in the Internet

The internet has become a tool that is supporting medical advancements in a great way. It gives doctors and medical researchers a platform to make available medical information to more people than they would otherwise reach. Patients, on the other hand, can find the medical information that they need as well as the latest research findings easily and free of charge. This is beneficial in that people gain useful information that helps them take preventive measures. This can protect them from contracting preventable diseases among other benefits. However, the internet is free for anyone to post. While there are credible and reliable people posting medical articles, others are after financial gains.

Are medical articles online reliable?

As said earlier, anything goes on the internet and it is not that easy to filter what you see. People who are after clicks and the attention of the users can manipulate even the legitimate medical information. The internet is also flooded with articles about fictitious medical products that promise miraculous results. Others offer guides for users to diagnose and treat themselves at home. There is a reason why doctors go through years of rigorous training. Information that tells you that you can treat yourself without enough facts from medical professionals is questionable. The same internet has websites with information by medical professionals with certification from doctors.

What you need to know is that you can find the good, the bad, and the ugly on the internet when it comes to online medical articles. It is safer to first verify the reliability of the information before using it.

Where to find reliable information

Many unbiased websites out there such as the National Institute of Health website post medical articles that are reliable. Such websites mostly have government sponsorship. In addition, medical institutions, large organizations, and non-profit organizations can also bear reliable medical information. The trick lies in knowing what to look for to determine whether you can trust a website. When you are looking to read into medical guides, you should consider resources by Osmosis to get reliable information on medical issues.

What to look for in a website

  • The sponsors – websites that the government funds, medical research institutions, and non-profit organizations. These websites have good intentional goals and a mission. On the other hand, commercial sites can be biased and after financial gains. Look at the URL, if it is a .gov, that is a government site. A .edu is for educational institutions and a .org is for non-profit organizations. Commercial websites are usually a .com site.
  • The mission/goal of the site – A site that is trying to push medical products are highly likely to post biased information. You should also be wary of websites that offer information about fictitious cures or remedies for diseases. If a site is only after informing the public on medical issues, you can trust it.
  • Information of the author and reviewer – A reliable website won’t hide the information of the authors and reviewers of the information. Be on the lookout for the names and contact information.
  • When was the information written – Medical information keeps changing as more evidence emerges. Check whether the information is current or has been recently gone through a review.

How to tell if the writer/reviewer can be trusted

Besides verifying the website, it is also good to verify the authors and reviewers of medical articles. After all, you can only be too confident about consuming online medical information. For websites that provide information about these people, use the information to do a quick search. A reliable writer/reviewer should be a person in the medical industry probably working for or managing a reputable organization. It is also important to check the connection that the writer/reviewer has with the website. If you establish that there is a personal gain, it is safer to do further verification. In addition, be wary of information given in testimonials. While you might be looking for social proof, you need to keep in mind that those people could be paid.

You can always ask the experts

While the internet can be a good platform for you to increase your knowledge in medical matters, the information therein shouldn’t replace an expert’s advice or opinion. The good thing is that experts know what to look for in these articles to verify their credibility.

Before acting on any medical information from the internet, talk to your doctor or people you trust in the medical field. You can also find experts online who can help you fact-check the information. Just search for ‘freelance medical writer’, you will find insights on how to reach a freelance medical writer to work with.


The internet is a wide archive for different medical information. What you need to know is that there are unreliable and reliable medical articles posted online. The most important thing is to know how to tell the difference. Pay close attention to the website where the article is as well as the author and reviewer of the article. You will also be safer if you consult an expert to help you check the facts before taking the information as credible.

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