The Internet is a vast ocean of information, some of it excellent,
some of it misleading and just plain wrong. I have quoted and
cited from reliable Web sites throughout this book.
Here, I want to highlight a few of the lesser known but noteworthy
on-line resources for patient self-education:
This Web site was started by a cancer patient named Steve
Dunn who first thought his kidney cancer would doom him to
death in less than a year. He lived many years and died of
an infection unrelated to the cancer. He put together this
site, which collects highly reliable information from diverse
sources. Since his death in 2005, other cancer patients, grateful
for his pathbreaking work, have carried on the site on a volunteer
This site is aimed at professionals, so it’s a bit technical,
but it has a comprehensive compilation of medical practice
guidelines for more than 2,000 conditions. It is updated every
week by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, a branch
of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Lab Tests Online lets you look up any lab
test and find out why it’s given and how to understand
your test results. The site is a non-commercial collaboration
among professional societies representing the clinical laboratory
community, organized by the American Association for Clinical
MedlinePlus brings together authoritative
information from government agencies and private health care
organizations. It was put together by the National Institutes
of Health with the National Library of Medicine, which has
long operated Medline, the premier search engine for the ever
growing universe of medical journal articles from all over
the world (16 million articles in 5,200 journals, at last count).
Medline-Plus has preformatted Medline searches to help you
get started in researching your disease. MedlinePlus also has
extensive information about drugs, an illustrated medical encyclopedia,
interactive patient tutorials, and health news.
This is a noncommercial collaboration that brings together
3,800 top experts in all medical specialties who write, edit,
and peer-review a comprehensive set of articles on 7,400 medical
topics. Hundreds of these topics written for patients are available
free, but for detailed information you have to pay a fee.
Of the thousands of health-care-related blogs, one stands
out to me as having the most consistently interesting and literate
Parker-Pope’s Well blog at the New
York Times site. A special bonus is the high quality of the readers’ comments.
I have my own blog, Patient Safety Blog, not nearly as comprehensive,
but then this is a part-time labor of love.
Finally, there's the blog for this book, The
Life You Save.