Iowans who have trouble finding quality health care information on the Internet should ask their doctor to write an “information prescription.” Doctor Donna D’Alessandro, a pediatrics professor at the University of Iowa, says it’s a nearly no-cost, effective way to put people in touch with good health care data. D’Alessandro says an information prescription looks just like a regular prescription but instead of writing to give a patient medicine, it tells people where to go on the Web for high quality information so that patient and their family can take better care of themselves. D’Alessandro is lead author of a study that found information prescriptions are a good idea. D’Alessandro says she hears frequently from patients and families who say they can’t find good health care information on the Internet, while doctors complain patients are often using questionable data they found somewhere on the ‘net. She says using information prescriptions to guide families to good information will help solve these problems for both groups.D’Alessandro recommends two websites in particular as starting points: the University of Iowa’s Virtual Hospital at “www.vh.org” and MedLine Plus through the National Library of Medicine at “www.medlineplus.org”. She says “Quality health sites on the Internet are from a reputable source and the sites are not trying to advertise or sell a cure.” Also, the sites have dates on them so you know when the information was posted.
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