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How to Verify the Trustworthiness of Online Medical Articles

online medical articles
How to Verify the Trustworthiness of Online Medical Articles Pixabay / Free-Photos

Thanks to the internet, now we can find answers to our questions in a heartbeat. Medical topics are no exception — whenever you feel sick, your first destination is Google search. There you type your symptoms in the search line and get the list of possible illnesses you can suffer from. 

According to the survey conducted by The Tinker Law Firm, 44 percent of Americans self-diagnose themselves online instead of visiting their family doctor. 30 percent of them attempt to address health issues at home unless considering their condition too serious. And this fact is quite disturbing for the medical community. 

The point is, most of the top results you see on the first page of search haven’t been written by doctors. Those articles were written by medical copywriters at best and by regular copywriters at worst. 

Why Does This Happen? 

Nowadays, the most popular way to make money on the web is to build an online website. Some people who choose the medical niche for these purposes are far off the medicine and see no need to pay for expert articles. They are far more interested in increasing their revenues and therefore heavily focus on marketing and advertising. 

Copywriters and other marketing experts are good at boosting the website’s Google rankings, but they can be desperately ignorant at verifying the facts. 

So how to avoid scam medical articles and make sure the one you read is trustworthy? 

5 Questions to Ask Before Trusting a Medical Article 

1.     Are there any links to credible studies? 

If the author makes some disputable claims or provides statistical data, those should be backed by relevant studies published on credible sources like National Institutes of Health or other well-known health institutions. 

2.     How old is the content of this article? 

Medical data is being updated on a daily basis. Each day, scientists discover new pathogens, new treatments, and previously unknown facts about the human body and its functioning. The articles published more than 2-3 years ago are no longer relevant. Trustworthy websites usually archive or update their older content.

3.     Does this info resonate with the content of other articles?

Always check at least 3-5 articles written on the same topic before drawing conclusions. It’s okay for some figures to vary a bit, as the results of two studies may be slightly different. But if there is an article drastically distinct from others, pay specific attention to the website’s credibility. 

4.     Who is the owner of the website? 

As we mentioned above, almost everyone can develop a website and start blogging on any topic. Thus, you should avoid websites owned by the one person, unless it’s a blog of a well-established medicine expert with credentials. Better opt for large portals with numerous experts involved and original studies conducted. 

5.      What is the purpose of the site?

There is a big difference between a website that aims solely to inform users and a website that was initially designed to sell the product. 

The first option is always a better choice to look for trustworthy articles, as they more likely contain unbiased information. On the contrary, the major purpose of a commercial website is to sell healthcare goods or services. Marketing can be the only rationale behind their medical blog, and so they can even fake studies to justify the positive health effect of their products. 

Note: if the article you read failed to pass the test, don’t hesitate and contact your healthcare provider. We strongly advise you not to self-diagnose yourself and use the internet only for a general understanding of the issue. 

And remember: never ever believe the article that promises you a “miracle cure” to facilitate your condition. If we really had that cure-all, there wouldn’t be a single doctor on Earth. 

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