By Arefa Cassoobhoy, MD, MPH, Chief Medical Editor, VP Medical Affairs, Everyday Health Group
Hello everyone! My name is Dr. Arefa Cassoobhoy, and I’m honored to be the guest expert on Episode 41: “Finding Trusted Arthritis Info” of the Live Yes! With Arthritis Podcast. I’m an internal medicine doctor and the chief medical editor at Everyday Health, a digital health information site. My No. 1 priority in this role is for people like you to be well-informed as you make decisions and take action along your health journey each and every day.
The key in providing quality health information is to create content that’s useful, easy to read and interesting — and never boring! At Everyday Health, I work with a talented team of journalists and medical experts to produce articles, videos and infographics about a range of health topics, including the various types of arthritis. The content is up-to-date and grounded in evidence-based medical information and real-world patient and clinician experiences.
Aside from the Arthritis Foundation and Everyday Health, I know it can be challenging to find a trustworthy health website. But online health information is valuable as you familiarize yourself with medical terms, understand how your body is or isn’t working properly, follow through with self-care and lifestyle changes, and even in helping you sort through your treatment options.
And because time with your doctor is usually limited, it’s necessary to be a savvy patient and come prepared with questions — and to leave ready to do some online homework to better understand what your doctor told you. Online health sites are a great source for this prep work and follow-up and, importantly, can also be a place to be inspired by other people’s stories and experiences.
During this episode, I share with Rebecca and Julie how to evaluate a health article for credibility and where to go to find the latest information about your type of arthritis. Some quick tips:
- Look closely at the page. Is there a date on the article that allows you to see if the information is up-to-date?
- Is it written and reviewed by qualified experts, and do they list their sources to show they’ve done their research?
Another key tip: If something sounds like an advertisement, it probably is. You may need to dig deeper by going to the About page of a website to find out if they are committed to educating the public about a health issue — or do they seem to be raising awareness about a product to sell? If you’re in doubt after a quick check, disregard the information and leave the site. It should be easy to tell that medical information is solid on your go-to trusty sites.
We also talk about how to find the latest research information about arthritis. Your doctor is the best place to start in terms of asking what online sources may be most relevant for you. Then when you dive in, there are some cool tricks on Google to focus your search and get to relevant scientific articles fast. For those of you who need to understand a specific research study, I also share tips on how to navigate and understand the various sections of a study. And depending on what kind of information you’re looking for, your best option could be to read expert-written “review” articles that doctors consult for information and practice guidelines on how to take care of a patient with a specific condition.
The most important thing to remember is that you don’t have to become a medical expert to take care of your health. With a few helpful tips, you can harness online sources to learn about your condition, which can lead to more productive and satisfying conversations with your health care providers and inspire and enable you to live a healthier life on your terms.
Take action today. Tune in to the podcast now.