There is a TON of bad medical information online and on social media. Not only are false medical claims fear-based, but they are also dangerous. As a medical professional, I have seen my share. Unfortunately, this misinformation can lead to serious health consequences. Can you spot and recognize when something is evidenced-based and when it’s not? Here’s how to tell if your source is legit.
Check the reliability of the source
Always consider the source! For example, I am a board-certified OB/GYN physician aka MD, FACOG. Check the credentials of the person or organization posting the information. If they don’t have any, BIG RED FLAG. It’s probably more bad medical information online. Look for information on their education and experience in the medical field. Additionally, check their profile or their website. Have any medical journals cited them? Be cautious of sources that do not have any credentials or affiliations with recognized medical organizations.
Look for supporting facts
One of the best ways to identify bad medical information is to look for supporting evidence. Look for reputable sources. Keep an eye out for peer-reviewed research or consensus statements from medical professional organizations. In addition, look for ACOG or SMFM for obstetrics or sources such as the CDC, WHO, etc. Other green flags would be: scientific research, clinical trials, or studies. Be wary of websites that don’t provide any sources or links. Similarly, if a medical fact seems too good to be true, it probably is.
Beware of emotional language
Misinformation and emotional language go hand in hand. Likewise, unverified claims and scare tactics get attention and get website visitors to click. This is clickbait! Keep an eye out for language that is alarming, extreme, or seems dramatic. Emotions should not replace science, research or factual information. Unfortunately, the algorithms love this. Be wary of emotional language. People posting false claims often make it seem like they are saving you from the evil medical community. They make it seem like they know more than doctors or that doctors are hiding something – if you see these tactics – beware.
Check for unbiased information
Biased information occurs when what is being shared aligns to a particular agenda or ideology. Be alert for sources that have a clear bias that aligns with their opinions and ideologies.
Ask a medical professional
When in doubt, always check with a medical professional. Furthermore, if you have doubts or concerns, reach out to your doctor! We’re happy to give our opinions on online information offline. Additionally, be very careful and selective of what you trust. Do not allow bad medical information to lead to serious health problems for you or your child.
We want you to make informed decisions. I post heavily researched information to ensure I provide the best, most current, correct info possible.