Medical school and unreliable info on the web

Jose rubio

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    Hello,

    Bran new medical student here. I am curious to know how to discern whether the information that I find online regarding diseases, treatment and such is reliable. For instance, I need to find information on a given disease and of course my first step involves Google. However, I have been told that sites such as Wikipedia may not be the best source to find accurate information, yet, that is always the first and most concise site I find and this frustrates me because I do not know if what I am reading on the site is accurate.

    To sum up, is there a reliable website that gives you the medical information you need quickly and accurately?

    Thanks,

    JR
     

    bunchesonothing

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      Hello,

      Bran new medical student here. I am curious to know how to discern whether the information that I find online regarding diseases, treatment and such is reliable. For instance, I need to find information on a given disease and of course my first step involves Google. However, I have been told that sites such as Wikipedia may not be the best source to find accurate information, yet, that is always the first and most concise site I find and this frustrates me because I do not know if what I am reading on the site is accurate.

      To sum up, is there a reliable website that gives you the medical information you need quickly and accurately?

      Thanks,

      JR

      Go to the sources listed in the Wiki you're looking at. That oughta help.
       
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      Rekt

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        Hello,

        Bran new medical student here. I am curious to know how to discern whether the information that I find online regarding diseases, treatment and such is reliable. For instance, I need to find information on a given disease and of course my first step involves Google. However, I have been told that sites such as Wikipedia may not be the best source to find accurate information, yet, that is always the first and most concise site I find and this frustrates me because I do not know if what I am reading on the site is accurate.

        To sum up, is there a reliable website that gives you the medical information you need quickly and accurately?

        Thanks,

        JR


        I've been using Wiki very heavily for almost two years now. Have had zero problems. Have not gotten any questions wrong because of it. I use wiki, because it's always set up the same/very similar and allows me to quickly navigate through it. It also removes lots of garbage that almost any other medical site contains. Our school has uptodate, but accessing it from home where I study is very annoying.
         
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        MrChance2

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          uptodate.com is really the gold standard.

          Everyone uses Wikipedia. I think throughout medical school I found like 1-2 errors in Wikipedia. The only people who I've seen give students **** for using wikipedia are like 70year old+ academic physicians that did their training and practicing before the internet. As long as its like getting a question wrong on an exam and not someones life there is no problem.
           
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          Law2Doc

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            If it's not in e-medicine, UpToDate, medscape or something specialty specific and reliable it's a risk. Although Wikipedia is reasonably good for what it is, I've definitely seen people look really stupid in front of attendings spouting information from it that really wasn't quite right. So you need to know what's a legit source and which is "mostly" right when you put yourself out there, with wiki and most of the things you google in that latter group.
             
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            Goro

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              Make friends with uptodate


              Hello,

              Bran new medical student here. I am curious to know how to discern whether the information that I find online regarding diseases, treatment and such is reliable. For instance, I need to find information on a given disease and of course my first step involves Google. However, I have been told that sites such as Wikipedia may not be the best source to find accurate information, yet, that is always the first and most concise site I find and this frustrates me because I do not know if what I am reading on the site is accurate.

              To sum up, is there a reliable website that gives you the medical information you need quickly and accurately?

              Thanks,

              JR
               
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              vc7777

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                Several thoughts:
                Nobody will argue that wikipedia isn't convenient, but I will counter that it is only RELATIVELY convenient because you don't yet have fluidity in using other resources. Practice makes perfect, and this become easier over time once you are using them properly. You should take the first two years of medical school to learn to be comfortable and adept at looking up information and in particular consuming primary research yourself. Uptodate.com is of course a great curated and heavily annotated resource. Pubmed, OMIM, Kegg pathways, ACR appropriateness criteria, USPSTF...are just a few resources I used this week alone.

                Even if you have no interest in performing research, you are still expected to be able to digest and apply the latest changes in medicine -- which often isn't published as guidelines or expert opinion but rather simply as published results.

                Your patients more and more often will be reading wikipedia themselves, so doesn't this beg the question: What additional value/information are you bring to them that they don't already have?

                Now, I'm all for checking out Wikipedia, knowing that it isn't reliable. In fact, you should. I always ask my patients what they have read about their disease/diagnosis. Often it is WAY off base, (I snarkily say that if you WebMD or google your symptoms too long, you will eventually decide you have a terminal illness). For some reason, people don't like to admit that they are reading things on line - like they are somehow "cheating on you" or second-guessing your work. But if you don't address either what the patient has read or their concerns based on their readings, then they will not leave your office/clinic/ED/hospital feeling entirely satisfied. Just last week I had a daughter of a patient admit that she looked up a new medication we started as an inpatient on her mother, and that she read a wiki page on a related disease and had a ton of questions assuming we had made a diagnosis and were just not telling them -- all before we even came to talk to her about why we started the med. [As an aside: uptodate.com also has "basic" and "beyond the basics" patient education handouts for many of the diseases that you can print out and share that are pretty nifty too. Depending on your institution's account, and the patient's education/motivation you can also extend a temporary access to uptodate for a few days, too, although I never have.]

                You will inevitably have to deal with data of varying reliability throughout your career by somehow "tagging" information in your brain based on the source. When you read in Nature or NEJM a research article, or hear a world-expert at a conference says "based on my research, I think x,y,z" you might "tag" that in your memory as much more reliable and differently than when a doctor says "in my experience...a,b,c.". Wikipedia is no different.

                And as L2D says, it's "mostly" right - but tell your patients that when you make a mistake. I remember a classmate in medical school looking up "sick sinus syndrome" once on wiki and it had this strange rant about how it is on the rise in dogs for an unknown reason ...I wish I would have screen-captured it, because that section disappeared within a couple days. General wiki information is only good when it is right. Like Cr clearance: it's is a good measure of kidney function. Except when it isn't. Likewise, wiki can be good until it isn't. That's where you can get into trouble. So being aware of when information/tools/equations breakdown is another aspect of learning medicine: I had another patient this week who always had super-high fasting blood sugars many times in the past 3 years, but rock-solid low HbA1c. Of course, people were assuming nothing was wrong, and treating the A1c numbers, when in fact HbA1c is not accurate measures of glucose control for him, and he is actually an un-diagnosed diabetic.
                 
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                LaurenMD

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                  I've been using Wiki very heavily for almost two years now. Have had zero problems. Have not gotten any questions wrong because of it. I use wiki, because it's always set up the same/very similar and allows me to quickly navigate through it. It also removes lots of garbage that almost any other medical site contains. Our school has uptodate, but accessing it from home where I study is very annoying.

                  When you're at the hospital on their network, go to UpToDate and click "create an account." Once you've created your account, you should be able to use it to easily log in to UpToDate from home.
                   
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                  vc7777

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                    They make you recertify every 90 days which is a pain
                    Really? I'm sorry but these are weak sauce reasons for not using uptodate. You just need to log in once a month from campus. Plus you can have it on your phone. Once a month you log in from your phone on campus and you are done. If you have chrome and passwords saved it is really not tedious. Or a shortcut even if typing the url is that much of a pain and then it's one single click. Even recently switching hospitals affiliations took me two minutes to do. Besides it can keep track of your research to claim CME eventually, so beyond the aforementioned reasons you should use it or something like it instead of wikipedia (you know, proper citations, expert reviews, patient safety, personalized medicine, improved patient care), the convenience argument is very thin.




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                    Psai

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                      Really? I'm sorry but these are weak sauce reasons for not using uptodate. You just need to log in once a month from campus. Plus you can have it on your phone. Once a month you log in from your phone on campus and you are done. If you have chrome and passwords saved it is really not tedious. Or a shortcut even if typing the url is that much of a pain and then it's one single click. Even recently switching hospitals affiliations took me two minutes to do. Besides it can keep track of your research to claim CME eventually, so beyond the aforementioned reasons you should use it or something like it instead of wikipedia (you know, proper citations, expert reviews, patient safety, personalized medicine, improved patient care), the convenience argument is very thin.

                      lol what are you going on about?
                       
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