Choosing the Right Websites for Health and Medical Information

Use of internet has increased rapidly over the last few years. This has affected people in many ways, both good and bad. And medical and health fields are no exception. In fact, more people search for health and medical information than any other subjects. This just indicates that people take their health seriously and are ever searching for information to improve their health and well-being. But for many of us, even logging into an internet site is often daunting. We get lost with the volumes of information, advertisements, and promotions which are all eye-catching and very difficult to resist. This may lure readers to sites which are neither useful nor serve any purpose. Besides, the information may be loaded with medical jargons, terminologies, and other medical ideas which are hard to understand as a non-medical person.

So, how do we get the right information? And how do we know which one is right when there are piles and layers of information to choose from? To make the matter worse, the information are often contradicting or even misleading.

In this article, I will briefly highlight some important points that can help readers in choosing the right health and medical information from the internet. I urge the readers to ask the following questions in analysing a medical website, and the answers they get can determine the quality of information on the website.

Website ownership

Is the website owned by the government, educational institutions or private companies? In general, most websites owned by government are not biased and are promoted in the interest of the public. Majority of privately or company owned websites are developed for promoting products for sale or for other vested interest.

Author

Who is the author of the site? Is the author a doctor, medical scientist, health professional or any expert in health and medical field? Or is he/she a patient who has suffered an incurable condition for a long time, such as, multiple sclerosis patient or cancer survivor? Is the author a well-known figure or has he/she published any other credible articles or books? The information on the website will be more authoritative if the author does not have any personal interest or the site is not sponsored by commercial organizations. Also the site that has the contact details of author or publisher gives more weight to the site than those which do not have such information.

Website content

Is the content up-to-date? When was it last updated? Does the content show references to other authoritative sources? Is the information evidence-based? Is the language clear or is it loaded with medical jargons, terminologies or other ideas hard to understand? People love to read articles which are easy to understand and written in plain layman’s language. Simple demonstration or easy to understand diagrams and charts help people understand health and medical terms better.

Does the website promote holistic approach to health?

This is an important factor in choosing the right website for health and medical information. The site should provide complete and in depth information on the subject of interest. For example, if a website is about breast cancer, the readers should be able to get answers to questions such as:

What is breast cancer?
Is there a cause of breast cancer?
What are the risk factors for breast cancer?
Does it run in family?
How is it diagnosed and treated?
What happens if a patient refuses treatment?
Does the site give information on complications of treatment or follow up schedule?
Does it give information on any alternative modes of treatment?
What about prevention and screening for breast cancer?
Does the site address other issues related to breast cancer including psychological and sexuality issues, family and financial hardships etc?

Does the site provide links to other sources of information for help and support?

For example, a website on “Quit Smoking’ should have Quitline telephone numbers, counselling services for smokers, or contact details of health professionals involved in quit smoking programs.

Is the information specific to a country or a region?

Many websites provide information that is relevant to a particular country or region and are not tailored to the international readers. So, obtaining such information from a website which is country or region-specific may not be relevant or accurate. For example, immunization schedules differ between countries, level of health care services and types of treatment differ, and even drugs usage differs. It is therefore important to identify whether the information on the internet is for readers in a particular geographic area or country or it can be used internationally.

The Benefits of a Corporate Health and Wellness Program

The concept of hiring a Vancouver personal training professional to aid in improving the fitness of company employees may not seem like an appropriate expenditure for many in management. Such an opinion is a fairly misguided one because it overlooks several important points. Among the most vital of points is that the expenditure is really not an expenditure. The reason this is so derives from the fact that the institution of a solid wellness program can actually prove to be a tremendous cost saver for a company in a multitude of ways. On the most basic of levels, a proper wellness and fitness program can yield tremendous improvements in employee performance and productivity. The obvious cost saving impact of such improvements really goes without saying.

What is a wellness program?

As the name implies, a wellness program (In conjunction with Vancouver personal training )can entail any process or program in the office that boosts the health potential of employees. Sadly, the term “wellness program” has become associated with drug testing in the work environment. This is certainly not the only type of wellness program a company can employ. The fact of the matter is that there are no limits to the scope of improving employee wellness. The reason for this should be obvious: there are no limits on the ways in which health can be improved. This creates a great deal of latitude for companies seeking to effectively and properly institute such a program.

A wellness program in a corporate setting can take on many forms. Smaller scale wellness programs such as individual Vancouver personal training could entail simply holding a lunch and learn that covers the subject of reducing health risks deriving from obesity. A more expansive wellness program could include an actual onsite program designed to reduce obesity. Generally, there will be different wellness programs a company can employ based on needs and budget. Some of the commonly employed wellness programs will include:

Onsite aerobics, cardiovascular conditioning, and weight training programs are commonly employed for a wellness initiative. Vancouver personal training professionals could easily craft such programs. Obviously, space would be needed in the office to set up a fitness room to handle such workout sessions. This may not prove to be much of a problem with effective design. Even a very small room can be turned into a “fitness center” with the right approach.

Yoga, stretching, and meditation classes could be performed onsite as well. Such light workouts are perfect for stress reduction and can be instituted with limited cost.

Discount membership affiliations to local Vancouver personal training fitness facilities would be perfect for those companies unable to offer onsite wellness programs. Many commercial facilities will have programs in place to accept discount memberships for other businesses in the local community. Taking advantage of the availability of such offers could prove incredibly helpful to a company seeking to boost employee health and productivity.

Offering basic medical screening could prove to be extremely appreciated by employees. A blood screening test offered once a year to detect diabetes, hepatitis, or other health ailments could help improve the quality of employees’ lives dramatically.

Weight management and nutrition educational programs, workshops, and seminars can all prove helpful. Some might solely associate weight loss programs with improving physical appearance but these benefits are actually minor. The true benefits derive from effective weight benefits would be the reduced potential for serious adverse health problems manifesting due to obesity.

Positive Case Studies

While all these programs may seem helpful on the surface, some may seriously question whether or not these programs are truly effective and successful. Case studies have long since proven that the institution of such wellness programs can deliver all manner of benefits to a company that institutes such Vancouver personal training wellness programs.

A study performed by the Wellness Council of America has established that even minor healthy lifestyle changes significantly boost employee performance. This case study examined what was performed in 1992 in the City of Gainesville. A program dubbed LifeQuest was promoted to educate workers on seemingly “minor” health improvements and the results were quite positive. People that received effective health and wellness education soon started making proper decisions regarding their health. This led to great improvements in professional duties.

The Commonwealth Fund performed a study of a wellness program instituted by General Motors to curtail rising healthcare costs. In association with the United Auto Workers Union, a program called LifeStep was instituted. The study performed by The Commonwealth Fund noted there was a substantial savings of $42 per employee per year. This may not seem like a lot on the surface, but this will add up to $42,000 per 1,000 employees. General Motors is an enormous company and home to a substantial workforce. The multiplication of these costs over a large workforce has certainly cut healthcare costs for the company in a noticeable way.

Established Statistics

For any company to seriously consider instituting such a program there will be requirements to examine established statistic surrounding improvements attained for a company after a wellness program has been put in place. For this interested in finding such established statistics can take solace in the fact that many companies report positive outcomes.

Per the resource site PreventDisease.com, it has been noted that Johnson and Johnson experienced a 15% reduction in absences and a 34% reduction in healthcare costs. DuPont experiences a significant reduction in operational costs. For every dollar spent, $1.42 was saved. Coors Beer experienced savings in excess of $2 million.

Per Larry Chapman’s study, “Meta-evaluation of Worksite Health Promotion Economic Return Studies,” which was published in The American Journal of Health Promotion in 2003, the following statistics were revealed:

28% of sick leave taken was reduced; 26% reductions in direct health care costs were attained; and 30% reductions in the costs of worker’s compensation and disability were attained.