Online Health Information

Looking for Health Information Online?

Don’t Get Fooled!

There are so many websites that provide information about health and medicine! Unfortunately, some of the things you read on the internet are just plain wrong. How do you know what to believe? Here are some questions you can ask yourself:

  • Who runs the website? Federal agencies, medical schools, and large professional or nonprofit organizations are often reliable sources of health information.
  • Who is sponsoring the website? Be wary if it’s not easy to find the sponsor’s contact information or if the website is trying to sell you something.
  • Is the information current? Sites should say when the information was posted or last reviewed.
  • Is your privacy protected? Be sure you understand the website’s privacy policy. Be cautious about sharing personal information.
  • Does the site make claims that seem too good to be true? See if you can find other, reliable sites with the same information.

Checklist from NIH News in Health, April 2015

A Few Good Sources

Library Databases
Filter by subject Health & Medicine. If you are at home, you will need your library card number and pin to access the four databases below. 

  1. Health & Wellness Resource Center: Health information from journals, magazines, pamphlets and medical reference books. Written for non-experts.
  2. Nursing and Allied Health Collection: Covers all aspects of the nursing profession - from direct care to health care administration. Various magazines and journals are indexed, and the collection's very current content is useful to both nursing professionals and students pursuing a nursing curriculum.
  3. Physical Therapy and Sports Medicine collection: Contains full-text articles from various magazines, including articles about proven treatment techniques, experimental research theses, and applications for specific sports.
  4. Psychology Collection: Indexes numerous journals and magazines, covering all fields of psychology, including abnormal, biological, comparative, developmental, adolescent, social, and applied psychology.

Medline Plus
Reliable, up-to-date, and easy to understand information about diseases, conditions, and wellness issues compiled by the National Library of Medicine

The Mayo Clinic
Frequently updated information on a wide range of diseases, conditions, symptoms, test, procedures, drugs, and supplements from one of the nation’s top hospitals.

Office of Minority Health Information Services
Information for researchers and consumers on on health issues specific to African Americans, American Indians and Alaska Natives, Asian Americans, Hispanics, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders. Includes funding and grants resources as well as articles, data and statistics.

Ask a librarian if you need help navigating these sources or finding more!

Covered California, Medi-Cal and Health Insurance

Covered California
California’s website where you can enroll in federally subsidized health insurance. Provides information in English, Spanish, and eleven other languages. If you need help, the website can direct you to people who have been certified.

Alameda County Health Care
Information for uninsured Alameda county residents seeking free or low-cost health care. Links to health providers, insurance and assistance programs, and free or low-cost wellness resources.

2-1-1 is a free, non-emergency, confidential, 3-digit phone number and service that provides easy access to housing information, and critical health and human services. 2-1-1 operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with multi-lingual capabilities.

Affordable Care Act Federal Website
Information for individuals and small businesses on enrollment, coverage, and taxes.

Consumer Health Insurance Ratings
Annual ratings compiled by the National Committee for Quality Assurance, a nonprofit that evaluates and accredits health care.

Bay Area Legal Aid Health Consumer Center
For legal help with a health care issue or unfair medical billing problem, call toll Free: (855) 693-7285, Monday – Friday, 9:00 am – 5:00 pm. Assistance in all languages.

Alameda County Health Care Services’ Health Insurance Technician Unit
Call for Medi-Cal enrollment assistance and to find an enrollment location.

Find a Doctor

Alameda-Contra Costa Medical Association
Referrals for physicians currently accepting patients. Options to select for “accepts Medi-Cal” or “accepts Medicare.”

Find a Health Center
Health Centers provide services regardless of patients’ ability to pay and charge for services on a sliding fee scale. They provide primary care and supportive services such as health education, translation, and transportation.

Consumer Reports' How to Find a Good Doctor
Nine steps to take and several links for directories and review sites.

Medical Board of California
Advice on finding a doctor, including questions to ask and preparing for first visit. Information and links to search doctors’ licenses, board certification, and disciplinary action.

Medline Plus’ Choosing a Doctor or Health Care Service
Information targeted to different situations and demographics, such as finding a doctor for your baby, finding a hospital for your cancer treatment, or finding a quality laboratory.