New Report Shows Online Health Information Could Be Misleading - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

New Report Shows Online Health Information Could Be Misleading

By Cindy Cha

(KHNL) -- As millions of Americans choose to live healthier lives and turn to the internet for advice, some say it may not be the wisest choice. A new report shows online health information may be misleading.

The internet can be a useful tool to empower people in their medical decisions. But a 34-page report says not everything online is true.

In this digital age, people are replacing a visit to the doctor with a visit on the web. More people are going online for answers to their medical questions.

But this report from "The Center for Medicine in the Public Interest" says online health information could lead to dangerous medical decisions.

The report found 65% of search results came from sites that contained biased or unverified information, and nearly half belonged to lawyers seeking plaintiffs for class action law suits.

"We've found that in many cases, depending on what search term you're putting in and what you're looking for, the search results you pull up are being posted by people that are trying to scare you away or into something for their own self interest," said Bob Goldberg, Vice-President of the Center for Medicine in the Public Interest.

Goldberg says, to get a more objective source of information, patients will have to dig deeper.

"Patients should just be careful in selecting the Web sites they go to as when they're choosing a physician or choosing where they go to buy their prescription drugs."

He says the best advice is to consult with your doctor before making any decisions.

Goldberg says there are a number of legitimate and safe websites like WebMD.com and MedScape.com that patients can go to for advice.

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