Make Online Rheumatoid Arthritis Research Matter

When you have rheumatoid arthritis, it’s important to get your facts straight and make sure you’re educating yourself properly.

By
Stephanie Guzowski

Want to be an informed, empowered Internet-savvy rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patient? Here’s how to home in on and present the info that can enhance your next medical exam. 

1. Refer to trusted sources.
For information that’s the most reliable, up-to-date and objective, try:

  • Federal government-sponsored sites, such as those of the National Institutes of Health (nih.gov) or the National Library of Medicine (nlm.nih.gov).
  • Sites that end with .edu (educational institutions), .gov (government agencies) and .org (nonprofit organizations).
  • Health sites with Health On the Net (HONcode) certification, which means the site meets ethical standards, and is reliable and trustworthy. 

2. Evaluate sites for:
Authority. Who sponsors the site? Check the “About Us” section. 
Objectivity. What’s the site’s purpose, and who pays for the content? If there’s advertising, it should be labeled.
Reputation. Are studies or people quoted identified by name and credentials? Are article dates listed?

3. But wait! Don’t print…
until you’ve sifted through an article to make sure it’s relevant to you:

  • Look for research that analyzes a large number of people similar to you.
  • If a new treatment was tested, what were the side effects? 
  • Where was the research done, who paid for it and who reported the results?
  • When you’re convinced the info is solid, go ahead and print. Then, rather than take in a pile of printouts, scan the material, making notes on a single sheet of paper you can take to your next visit. Include links in case your healthcare provider wants to check out an article. 
Published
April 2013