Searching for Information
Searching for information on the web
There is a vast amount of information available on the World Wide Web, so it is important to know that web sites have been checked for accuracy and relevancy so they are of a high quality when you use them to search for information.
At NHS Direct Wales, the Health Information Team ensure information provided to you is reliable, accurate, up to date, evidence based, will suit your individual needs and can be understood easily.
What should you look for?
- Try and look for information from reliable sources such as NHS, or Government based sources.
- If a site is sponsored by or promoting a product think about whether the company would have had any influence over the content.
- Does the information you have found match your needs?
- Is it easy to understand?
- Is it written for you, the patient or for a professional?
- If you are using search engines such as ‘Google’ or ‘Yahoo’ do you automatically think that the websites that appear first are the best? Be careful, as some sites may have been sponsored to appear there first.
- Be aware of the origin of the site – is it from the UK, America or from another country. Drugs and treatments are not always the same or available in other countries.
- Is there a date anywhere on the website stating when the information was last updated? Has it been updated recently? For example is the information dated 1999, if so think about what this may mean. If you follow the advice are you sure there have not been improvements, up to date treatments or care advice since then?
- Is there a disclaimer? Some websites state in their disclaimer that the information is not a substitute for medical advice and no responsibility can be taken for advice and information offered.
- Does it advise you of using external links to other websites? Most sound websites will state that even though there are links to other websites they cannot be held responsible for the information on that site.
Glossary of Terms
Accredited: - Officially recognised, generally accepted or believed
Evidence–Based Healthcare: - Is about making decisions based on science, research and evidence.
Health Information: - Is about providing literature and guidance on health and well being, health facilities such as GP, support groups and dentists and information on a particular health related matter.
Copyright: - Is the right given by law to authors and publishers (rights holders) to control certain uses, particularly copying of their own work.
Search Engine: - Is a large database that holds records/information that displays a match on the given search criteria