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The Online Mom provides internet technology advice and information to help parents protect their kids, encourage responsible behavior and safely harness the power of technology in the new digital world. Social networking, photo sharing, video games, IM & texting, internet security, cyberbullying, educational resources, the latest on tech hardware, gadgets and software for kids 3-8, tweens and teens, and more.

Healthcare Sites...



The explosive growth of the Internet has transformed the way we access and share information. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the field of medical science. There are now dozens of web sites featuring detailed descriptions, photos, videos and community discussions on every conceivable human ailment and condition.

These web sites attempt to make us all experts at self-diagnosis, or at least allow us to better understand our own and our family’s health issues. Whether it’s allergies, arthritis, or autism, we can match symptoms against the online descriptions and either lower or raise our own – and others – levels of anxiety!

Health information provided online should never be relied on as a substitute or replacement for face-to-face professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. However, if we use the healthcare sites sensibly they can be a very useful tool, allowing us to bridge the knowledge gap in an area that is vitally important for all of us.

So which healthcare web sites are the best? Well, sometimes it’s not always the biggest or most well-trafficked sites that provide the best online experience. There are also some smaller sites that are well laid out, easy-to-use, and clearly feature expert information and opinion from highly-qualified professionals.  Here are some of The Online Mom’s favorites:

QualityHealth
We love the look and layout of the QualityHealth site. Advice and information is grouped under 47 different “health centers”. The site also has a lot of easily-accessible, quality video. There are featured videos on subjects as diverse as depression and nutrition, as well as dozens of “healthy videos” grouped under 25 different topics. The home page “symptom checker” is also a novel way to dive into the site’s huge database of information.

Everyday Health
After just four years, Everyday Health has established itself as a leader in online consumer health information. The site provides lots of personalized tools and community features, allowing visitors to build and track the family medical history. Everyday Health is the flagship site for a network of over 20 other health-related sites covering everything from pregnancy and parenting to diet, fitness and healthy living.

WebMD  
Probably the best-known of all the health-related web sites – and certainly the best-funded – WebMD is a perennial Webby award winner and easily the most-trafficked health site with over 19 million monthly visitors. The WebMD home page has evolved over the last few years from straight analytical and diagnostic information to a newsier format, where you are just as likely to find a tabloid-style expose of the health of a top movie star. Still, the format of WebMD is compelling and if you are interested in casual browsing, quizzes, and the latest medical gossip, this is the place to go!

KidsHealth
Owned and operated by The Nemours Foundation, one of the nation’s largest healthcare systems dedicated to children, KidsHealth has evolved from a single kids’ site to 3 separate sites: one for parents, one for kids, and one for teens. The great thing about the kids and teens sites is that the content is written for kids not adults, with the result that children of all ages can go to the sites and get answers in terms that they understand and are comfortable with. The teens’ site in particular has sections on the body, sexual health, drugs and alcohol, and staying safe that could provide invaluable information for adolescents as well as an easy-to-follow primer for anxious parents!

FamilyDoctor.org
A relatively new web site launched by the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), FamilyDoctor organizes its information and advice by women, men, parents and kids, and seniors, as well as providing the ubiquitous A-Z subject finder. They also have a “smart patient guide”, which provides help with everything from understanding medical bills to dealing with end-of-life issues. The site includes over 300 informative and well-produced videos, with a promise of lots more to come.                



Comments:
Comment by Jaqui, posted 6/17/2009, 11:22 AM:

Thanks Monica- useful information. I find webMD almost too big to find the information I want so good to have alternatives.
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