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    How to improve health information online for our patients

    Recommending trustworthy sites can help address problems with quality, quantity of information

     

    Find reputable health content online

    Luc Colemont, MD, a gastroenterologist in Antwerp, Belgium, tweeted in February 2015, “In 2015, people are still dying because of a lack of information.”

    Read - Consider Choice E: Effective learning during residency

    Most medical librarians recommend prescribing content from U.S. government websites (those with .gov at the end of their address). In addition, they recommend websites ending in .org (which are usually non-profits) and .edu (which are educational institutions). At our Men’s Health Center, we recommend the following sites:

    MedlinePlus. MedlinePlus is a site run by the National Library of Medicine. This resource is updated on a daily basis. The site covers over 975 diseases and conditions. With no advertising, it is a resource that can be recommended without concern.

    Urologyhealth.org. The website of the Urology Care Foundation, which is the foundation of the AUA, contains information on 140 urologic conditions that have been crafted for patients. Because this website is supported by donations, not advertising, as well as being based on AUA guidelines, you can feel comfortable recommending this website to your patients and their caregivers.

    Medivizor.com. This new site is a HIPAA-compliant health service that combines patent-pending personalization technology with plain-language translations of cutting-edge medical journal articles to fill this gap. Recommended by Forbes magazine, practicing urologists, surgeons, radiologists, patients, and caregivers, Medivizor is easy to subscribe to and is free to the subscriber. (Full disclosure: I am one of the site’s founders.)

    Patients sign up on the site and answer questions about themselves and their medical condition(s). By leveraging knowledge of an individual’s medical profile, including all primary illnesses and comorbidities, treatment history, and personal preferences, Medivizor’s technology brings to the fore all the clinically relevant research, updated guidelines, and matching clinical trials. The system is further infused by the wisdom of the crowd, leveraging all actions and interactions by system stakeholders to help affect the content curation. It provides this information to the patient directly via email.

    As an October 2014 article in Forbes stated, “there is still a serious need for patients to access in-depth information about the conditions that doctors have already diagnosed.” Although MedlinePlus and Urologyhealth.org are excellent sites, they are not personalized nor do they provide in-depth, cutting-edge information that is particular to the patient’s specific diagnosis condition. Medivizor.com, by contrast, accomplishes these goals.

    Conclusion

    In the end, with more information, patients will have a greater stake in their health care. Those patients (and their caregivers) who take ownership of more aspects of their health care experience, including relevant and personalized information, will have better outcomes.

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    Subscribe to Urology Times to get monthly news from the leading news source for urologists.

    Steven A. Kaplan, MD
    Dr. Kaplan, a member of the Urology Times Editorial Council, is E. Darracott Vaughan Jr. Professor of Urology at Weill Cornell Medical ...

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