Health misinformation is all around us in print and electronic media. This type of information can be easily and quickly spread online, especially through social media. As informed information users, it is our responsibility to be able to spot and combat health misinformation.
The amount of information available is immense! Knowing what sources to trust is often the first step in dealing with health misinformation. AHS employees can utilize one of the many databases that KRS subscribes to or check out the KRS collection of eBooks, eJournals, and print materials for academic or thoroughly vetted resources.
Patients and their families can also join the fight against health information. Reliable health information is available through a variety of open-access sources. Tools like the KRS LibGuides, MyHealth.Alberta.ca, or MedlinePlus contain health information that can be trusted and verified.
When dealing with information from an undeterminable or questionable source, you can use critical appraisal tools to determine its validity. To start off with, you’ll want to remember to SIFT. You need to stop, investigate the source, find better coverage, and then trace claims, quotes, and media to their original contexts. You can also use the easy to remember CRAAP Test to review the currency, relevance, authority, accuracy, and purpose of a source. See our Evaluating Online Health Information steps for more detail!
Knowing how to distinguish between evidence-based and untrustworthy health information is important in preventing the spread of misinformation. This is essential especially online where it can be so easy to share, repost, or pass on information.