Consumer Health Advocacy

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The following are online resources that will aid you in making informed decisions on medical and other health issues.

How do I find general health information?

Medline Plus

"MedlinePlus is the National Institutes of Health's Web site for patients and their families and friends. Produced by the National Library of Medicine, it brings you information about diseases, conditions, and wellness issues in language you can understand. MedlinePlus offers reliable, up-to-date health information, anytime, anywhere, for free.You can use MedlinePlus to learn about the latest treatments, look up information on a drug or supplement, find out the meanings of words, or view medical videos or illustrations. You can also get links to the latest medical research on your topic or find out about clinical trials on a disease or condition.” (from their website)

MedlinePlus offers information on many health topics (which you can search by body location/system or alphabetically), drugs and supplements, and also has offers plenty of videos, games, interactive tutorials, and more.

Mayo Clinic

"Mayo Clinic is a nonprofit worldwide leader in medical care, research and education for people from all walks of life." (from their website) Mayo Clinic's website offers information on a healthy lifestyle; symptoms; diseases and conditions; tests and procedures; and drugs and supplements. You can also search publications (through a PubMed link), find clinical trials, and consult Discovery's Edge, Mayo Clinic's research magazine.

MedHelp

"Founded in 1994 out of a shared need for better medical information and support, MedHelp is the pioneer in online health communities. The MedHelp site connects people with the leading medical experts and others who have similar experiences. Today, MedHelp empowers over 12 million people each month to take control over their health and find answers to their medical questions.

"MedHelp, a privately-funded company, has over 16 years of accumulated information from doctors and other patients across hundreds of conditions. In addition, MedHelp has long-standing partnerships with the top medical institutions such as the Cleveland Clinic, National Jewish, Partners Health, and Mount Sinai. MedHelp's audience, archives, and partnerships make it a unique health destination on the Internet.

"In addition to helping patients find answers to their questions, MedHelp has a robust infrastructure to help patients actively manage their health. Through its condition-specific health applications and Personal Health Records (PHRs), MedHelp members are able to track over 1,500 symptoms and treatments on a daily basis as it relates to the progression of their medical condition. The ability to document and share this information with their doctors has led to better communication and more active patient engagement.

"MedHelp trackers are available on the website and on mobile phones through web-based browsers and iPhone apps covering both general health conditions, such as weight loss and allergies, and very specific disorders, such as infertility and diabetes. MedHelp now has one of the largest databases of self-reported medical data, totaling 100 million data points." (from their website)

MedHelp also offers public forums for people to discuss their medical and health issues, tools like trackers and apps, medical information listed alphabetically and health expert blogs and forums. You can set up a personal profile, which allows you to add you own personal health information, track specific discussions, and make notes.

Everyday Health

"EverydayHealth.com is a leading provider of online health information. We're here to help you manage your own and your family's conditions and overall well-being through personalized advice, tools, and communities. We're committed to bringing you the most credible and relevant health information available online, and to giving you the best possible user experience. Our information is easy to understand and incorporate into your life every day.

"There's much to explore on EverydayHealth.com, including: More than 100 health centers loaded with in-depth, original information on the diagnosis, management, and prevention of diseases and conditions, as well as information on how to live a full, healthy life. Helpful questions and answers from our board-certified experts at top-tier institutions such as Harvard Medical School, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, Mount Sinai Medical Center, and more. Meet the Everyday Health experts. Thriving communities of individuals just like you, who are managing or caring for others with a range of conditions and health concerns. Interactive features including webcasts, videos, photo galleries, tools, trackers, and blogs, help you take a hands-on approach to managing your condition or improving your general health. Check out our tools page." (from their website).

KidsHealth from the Nemours Center for Children's Health

"If you're looking for information you can trust about kids and teens that's free of 'doctor speak,' you've come to the right place. KidsHealth is the most-visited site on the Web for information about health, behavior, and development from before birth through the teen years. On a typical weekday, KidsHealth gets as many as a million visits. One of the things that make KidsHealth special is that it's really four sites in one: with sections for parents, for kids, for teens, and for educators. KidsHealth is more than just the facts about health.

"As part of The Nemours Foundation's Center for Children's Health Media, KidsHealth also provides families with perspective, advice, and comfort about a wide range of physical, emotional, and behavioral issues that affect children and teens. KidsHealth cannot take the place of an in-person visit with a doctor, who can perform examinations and answer questions. But we can provide unbiased, reliable information to help you and your family pursue good health and wellness for a lifetime." (from their website)

The section of the website for parents offers all kinds of information on general health, nutrition, fitness, first aid, and even recipes. The section for children offers information for homework assistance, quizzes, articles, movies, a kid's medical dictionary, and many more different kinds of activities. The section for teens offers articles, advice, and even some recipes.

Drugs.com

"Drugs.com provides accurate and independent information on more than 24,000 prescription drugs, over-the-counter medicines and natural products. This material is provided for educational purposes only and is not intended for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment." (from their website)

Drugs.com also offers an interaction checker, pill identifier, forums, support groups, and Mednotes (where you can log in and keep a record of your medications). There is also a medication guide app for your phone.

RxList by WebMD

"RxList is an online medical resource dedicated to offering detailed and current pharmaceutical information on brand and generic drugs. Founded by pharmacists in 1995, RxList is the premier Internet Drug Index resource. Acquired by WebMD in 2004, our knowledgeable staff at RxList continuously reviews and updates the site with articles written by pharmacists and physicians and data provided by credible and reliable sources like the FDA, Cerner Multum, and First Data Bank, Inc. to ensure the most accurate and beneficial information is provided.

"On RxList information on medications can be found using the Drugs A - Z list (an alphabetical listing of both brand and generic drug names) or by entering the generic or brand drug name in the search box at the top of the page and clicking search. Need to identify a pill? Use our pill identification tool." (from their website)

RxList also provides a pill identifier, information on supplements, slideshows on various health topics, and quizzes on various health topics.

Government Health Websites (from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Servies)

Healthfinder.gov

"When making decisions about your health, it's important to know where to go to get the latest, most reliable information. Healthfinder.gov has resources on a wide range of health topics selected from approximately 1,400 government and non-profit organizations to bring you the best, most reliable health information on the Internet.” (from their website)

At healthfinder.gov, you will find health topics that you can break them down by subject, age, and gender; health news; health services near you; national health observances; news about health reform and much more.

Health.gov

On Health.gov, find information on health topics; physical activities guidelines; dietary guidelines; health care quality; patient safety; health communication, health literacy and e-Health. Under the HHS Initiatives and Resources sections you can find links to other government-backed health websites and information.

Healthcare.gov

At Healthcare.gov, you can choose a health insurance plan for yourself, your family, or your business; find more information on the Affordable Care Act; read the Health Insurance Blog, and find out how to use your coverage after you receive it.

How do I find out more information on my condition or share information of my condition with others?

Med Terms

"MedTerms medical dictionary is the medical reference for MedicineNet.com. Our doctors define difficult medical language in easy-to-understand explanations of over 16,000 medical terms. Medterms online medical dictionary provides quick access to hard-to-spell and often misspelled medical definitions through an extensive alphabetical listing." (from their website)

Lab Tests Online

"Lab Tests Online has been designed to help you, as a patient or family caregiver, to better understand the many clinical lab tests that are part of routine care as well as diagnosis and treatment of a broad range of conditions and diseases. Our Features page describes what you can find on the site and how it can benefit you.

"The site is produced by AACC (the American Association for Clinical Chemistry) and is the result of a collaboration of professional societies representing the laboratory community. When we launched this site in 2001, it was a time when health care consumers were being asked to assume more responsibility for their care. Today, knowing more about lab tests and the issues surrounding testing is an important part of fulfilling this responsibility.

"Since its launch, Lab Tests Online has helped millions of users learn about their tests and discuss them more clearly with their doctors. To ensure that the site is accepted as a trusted source for medical information, we adhere to the principles espoused by the Health on the Net Foundation, an international not-for-profit organization that seeks 'to guide lay persons or non-medical users and medical practitioners to useful and reliable online medical and health information.' We also support the Consumer Reports WebWatch guidelines to promote credible information practices on the web." (from their website)

CarePages

"CarePages.com is an online community with over a million unique visitors a month who come together to share the challenges, hopes and triumphs of anyone facing a life-changing health event. Through personalized websites, members can relate their stories, post photos and update friends and family instantly. In turn, people who care send messages of love and encouragement. CarePages.com also offers a variety of resources and support tools for living a more compassionate life.” (from their website)

How do I find information on which doctors, hospitals, and other health care providers I should visit or not visit?

Texas Medical Board, Texas Physical Assistant Board, Texas State Board of Acupuncture Examiners

"Our mission is to protect and enhance the public's health, safety and welfare by establishing and maintaining standards of excellence used in regulating the practice of medicine and ensuring quality health care for the citizens of Texas through licensure, discipline and education." (from their website).

On this website, you can look up a medical professional's name, file a complaint, track recent disciplinary actions of medical professions, find Medicare/Medicaid providers, and keep up-to-date on Texas Medical Board news.

Healthgrades

"Healthgrades is the leading online resource for comprehensive information about physicians and hospitals. Today, more than 250 million visitors use the Healthgrades websites to find, evaluate, compare, select, connect and communicate with physicians and hospitals that best meet their treatment needs.

"Consumers choose Healthgrades and are empowered through use of Healthgrades objective information about clinical outcomes, satisfaction, safety, and health conditions to make more informed healthcare decisions and take action. Our physician profiles are the most current and comprehensive available. Our online decision support tools enable consumers to research and compare doctors across a range of professional and personal attributes, and book appointments online. We also help consumers better manage their health and prepare for a visit to the doctor's office." (from their website)

With Healthgrades, you can look up doctors, dentists, and hospitals for their basic information (location, hours, phone numbers), patient satisfaction, background, if there have been any disciplinary actions against them, and much more.

American Medical Association DoctorFinder

"DoctorFinder provides you with basic professional information on virtually every licensed physician in the United States. This includes more than 814,000 doctors. AMA (American Medical Association) member physicians are offered expanded listing that contains additional information, such as office hours, accepted insurance providers, education history, and other helpful information." (from their website)

DoctorFinder will also provide information on non-AMA member physicians, but you will only see their name, specialty, location, and phone number. You will also have a "Usage Verification" when you first get to the website. Just click in the numbers that you see in the picture. Then you will need to accept DoctorFinders "Terms & Conditions."

Where should I go to find information on insurance options and issues?

Texas Department of Insurance

"The Texas Department of Insurance mission is to protect insurance consumers by: regulating the insurance industry fairly and diligently, promoting a stable and competitive market, and providing information that makes a difference. The Texas Department of Insurance will exemplify friendly, courteous, ethical, and professional behavior in all areas of performance by: providing the best value in services to the people of Texas, applying the law and the agency policy fairly and consistently throughout the state, communicating openly and providing timely and accurate information to the public we serve, and to all our fellow employees, and communicating internally and externally, we evaluate and adjust the course of the agency in response to changes in conditions." (from their website).

The Texas Department of Insurance's website allows you to search through the different kinds of insurance that is available to consumers, report and find out information about insurance fraud, compare insurance rates, gives you tips and warnings about choosing insurance, and much more.

Patient Advocate Foundation

"Patient Advocate Foundation (PAF) is a national 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization which provides professional case management services to Americans with chronic, life threatening and debilitating illnesses. PAF case managers serve as active liaisons between the patient and their insurer, employer and/or creditors to resolve insurance, job retention and/or debt crisis matters as they relate to their diagnosis also assisted by doctors and healthcare attorneys. Patient Advocate Foundation seeks to safeguard patients through effective mediation assuring access to care, maintenance of employment and preservation of their financial stability." (from their website)

The Patient Advocate Foundation website has Patient Services which include: co-pay relief programs, prevention assistance, and case management assistance, education information on many topics, such as disability resources, senior services resources, and much more, and current news.

Other health-related websites

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

"CDC works 24/7 to protect America from health, safety and security threats, both foreign and in the U.S. Whether diseases start at home or abroad, are chronic or acute, curable or preventable, human error or deliberate attack, CDC fights disease and supports communities and citizens to do the same. CDC increases the health security of our nation. As the nation's health protection agency, CDC saves lives and protects people from health threats. To accomplish our mission, CDC conducts critical science and provides health information that protects our nation against expensive and dangerous health threats, and responds when these arise." (from their website)

The CDC's website has topics listed in alphabetical order and on the main page by subject (such traveler's health information on how to prepare and what you might face on your trip), publications, photos, podcasts, a list of outbreaks of where they are, and much more.

U.S. Food and Drug Administration Consumer Health Information

"FDA is responsible for protecting the public health by assuring the safety, efficacy and security of human and veterinary drugs, biological products, medical devices, our nation's food supply, cosmetics, and products that emit radiation.

"FDA is also responsible for advancing the public health by helping to speed innovations that make medicines more effective, safer, and more affordable and by helping the public get the accurate, science-based information they need to use medicines and foods to maintain and improve their health. FDA also has responsibility for regulating the manufacturing, marketing and distribution of tobacco products to protect the public health and to reduce tobacco use by minors.

"Finally, FDA plays a significant role in the Nation's counterterrorism capability. FDA fulfills this responsibility by ensuring the security of the food supply and by fostering development of medical products to respond to deliberate and naturally emerging public health threats." (from their website)

The FDA's consumer health information website offers Consumer Updates: Timely and easy-to-read articles covering all FDA activities and regulated products; Protect Yourself: Buying medicines online, health fraud, warnings and enforcement, safety alerts, and reporting problems to FDA; Multi-Media Consumer Information: Videos, photo slide shows, and audio podcast; and Print Publications: Links to available print publications, information on ordering free copies, and printer-friendly Consumer Update PDFs.