#13 – Evaluating Health Information Online

Click here to see the prior item in this series:  How can I keep up with my mom’s medical care?

Evaluating Health Information Online

Your mom might live in Chapel Hill and you live in New York.  Many people search online to learn more about medical concerns. But not all health information online is of equal quality. The following questions may help you decide if the source you find on the internet is reliable:

  • Who is responsible for the content? Part of the web address may tell you — .gov is a government agency, .edu is an educational institution, .org is a professional organization or a non-profit, and .com is a commercial website.  Also look for the “About Us” page.
  • Do you know who the author is? If so, what are his/her credentials? Will he or she profit from something recommended on the website?
  • Is the purpose and goal of the sponsoring organization clearly stated? Is it selling something?
  • Is there a way to contact the sponsor for more information?
  • Is the website supported by public funds or donations?
  • Do the contents of the articles encourage you to buy specific products as part of providing general health information?
  • How new is the information? Is the information based on strong scientific evidence described in the article, or does it express personal opinions?

Click here to see the next item in this series:  I’m going with my dad on his medical appointment.  How can I make the most of this visit with his doctor?


Acorn wishes to acknowledge the National Institute on Aging for this valuable content.


Within Acorn’s service area of Chapel Hill, Durham and surrounding areas in North Carolina (Hillsborough, Pittsboro, Morrisville, Cary, and Apex) the following resources may be especially helpful:

  • Orange County Department on Aging, 2551 Homestead Road, Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27516, (919) 968-2070
  • Durham Center for Senior Life, 406 Rigsbee Avenue – Suite 202, Durham, North Carolina   27701, (919) 688-8247
  • Chatham County Council on Aging, 365 North Carolina 87, Pittsboro, North Carolina   27312, (919) 542-4512
  • Triangle J Area Agency on Aging, 4307 Emperor Boulevard
- Suite 110, Durham, NC 27703, 919-558-2711
  • Resources for Seniors (Wake County), 1110 Navaho Dr.  – Suite 400, Raleigh, NC 27609, 919-872-7933