The following information is excerpted from the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, a division of the National Institutes of Health.
What’s the Bottom Line?
How much do we know about online resources for complementary health approaches?
The number of Web and social media sites, along with mobile apps, offering health information about complementary and integrative health approaches (often called complementary and alternative medicine) grows every day.
What do we know about the accuracy of online health information?
- Some online sources of information on complementary health approaches are useful, but others are inaccurate or misleading.
- Don’t rely on online resources when making decisions about your health. If you’re considering a complementary health approach, discuss it with your health care provider.
Checking Out Online Sources of Health Information: Five Quick Questions
If you’re visiting an online health site for the first time or downloading a new app, ask these five questions:
- Who runs or created the site or app? Can you trust them?
- What is the site or app promising or offering? Do its claims seem too good to be true?
- When was its information written or reviewed? Is it up-to-date?
- Where does the information come from? Is it based on scientific research?
- Why does the site or app exist? Is it selling something?
Finding Health Information on the Internet: How to Start
- To find accurate health information, start with one of these organized collections of high-quality resources:
- MedlinePlus, sponsored by the National Library of Medicine, which is part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH)
- healthfinder.gov, sponsored by the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
- If you’re looking for information about complementary and integrative health approaches:
- Use the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) Web site as a starting point. NCCIH is the Federal Government’s lead agency for scientific research on complementary and integrative health approaches.
- Follow NCCIH on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. These accounts are updated and managed by NCCIH and provide the latest resources on a variety of complementary health approaches.
- For information on dietary supplements, visit the NIH Office of Dietary Supplements Web site.
- For additional reliable resources from Federal agencies or the World Health Organization on complementary health approaches, visit NCCIH’s Links to Other Organizations page.
Click here to see the full list of resources on how to find and evaluate health information.