Internet and Social Media to Keep in Formed and Exchange Information

Finding quality information on the internet

The Internet represents the largest source of immediately available medical information. However, on the Internet, we cannot always separate truth and fiction.

How do you recognize a quality website and develop the ability to read online information with a critical eye?

Find out about the authors of the site

Focus on serious and official sources such as universities, public hospitals, federal and cantonal public health offices or departments, international organizations, professional medical associations, patient associations.

Be curious:

  • Who created the site?
  • Is it possible to find out about the author/publisher of the site?
  • Is the author independent and without any link to any commercial or pharmaceutical companies?
  • What is the expertise and recognition of this author in this field?

Evaluate the quality of the information

With so many websites in existence, it is worth knowing which web addresses have been scientifically validated (see List of resources).

Information available on the internet does not take your personal situation into account (medical history, age, risk profile, etc). Discuss your research together with your doctor.

Do not hesitate to consult several sites to compare their results. Focus on medical portals which contain validated information.
Internet reference sites:

Ask yourself:

  • What is the objective of the site (to inform, sell, etc.)?
  • What is the publication date?
  • How often is the information updated?

Discuss your research with your doctor

Do not hesitate to share the results of your research with your doctor so he/she can validate the reliability of the information acquired.

Start a dialogue:

  • Can you recommend a reliable site to me?
  • What do you think of the results of this study?

Share advice, support and information on social media

Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are communications tools widely used in health matters. You can comment, ask a question or respond to an article. The active participation of users grouped into communities is a characteristic of social media.

Do you want to communicate with other patients?

Your use of social media will depend on your objective and whether you are searching for medical information, sharing advice and support or communicating with patients who have the same medical problem as you.

When using social media, as a priority, consult patient, expert patient or care provider communities. You can also use hospital, university or public body social media sites.

Respect best practice when using the internet and social media

  • Be cautious when you write on social media and on the internet and protect yourself by using confidentiality parameters.
    Is my publication public, private or restricted to a particular group?
  • Respect your contacts. Be considerate towards the personal opinions of others.
    Do I risk shocking or upsetting someone by publishing this image or expressing this opinion?
  • Contribute to conversations in a manner that is relevant. Internet discussions mean exchanging information with people, but also sharing passion and expertise.
    Could my comment be useful to other members of the community?
  • Respect the rules that apply to social media by reading the publication charter
    Does my message risk being interpreted as a commercial advertisement?
  • Do not use the internet or social media if you are looking for a diagnosis or self-medication.
    The internet is an information tool, not a diagnosis. Do not hesitate to discuss the results obtained with a health professional.

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Last update : 25/02/2019