Trusted consumer health information at your fingertips!

by Amanda Andrews on 2021-05-03T08:30:00-03:00 in Research skills, Trendy Topics, Achieve Results, Resource Spotlight, Research, Searching, Consumer Health, Nutrition & Diet Therapy | Comments

Finding credible consumer health information can be challenging. Many online resources can be misleading or unreliable, especially when it comes to health information.

MedlinePlus® is an online health information resource for patients, and their families and friends. It is a service of the National Library of Medicine (NLM), the world's largest medical library, and part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) (MedlinePlus, 2021). MedlinePlus® is an excellent consumer health resource to recommend to patients for credible, trusted information.

MedlinePlus® at a glance

  • Information on health topics, such as human genetics, medical tests, medications, dietary supplements, and healthy recipes
  • Sourced from more than 1,600 selected organizations
  • 40,000 links to authoritative health information in English

(MedlinePlus, 2021)


MedlinePlus® is easy to navigate! 

  1. Use the category tabs located at the top of the page.

Categories include:

  • Health Topics — Find alphabetically listed health conditions, symptoms, and treatments.
  • Drugs & Supplements — Browse by generic or brand name. Find information on herbs, supplements, prescription drugs, and more.
  • Genetics — Learn about genetic conditions and how to understand your own genetics.
  • Medical Tests — Browse a list of alphabetically arranged medical tests a doctor may order.
  • Videos & Tools — Find health-related videos and tools on anatomy, medical procedures, and more.
  1. If you know what information you are looking for, simply type your specific terms (for example, ‘knee pain’) into the ‘Search MedlinePlus’ search bar located in the top right corner and click on ‘Go.’ You can refine your results by Type and Format. Formats include PDFs, images, and videos.
  2. MedlinePlus® supplies trusted COVID-19 information. At the top of each page, under the category tabs, there is a pink alert box. Search COVID-19 information by:
  • Latest public health information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
  • Latest research information from NIH
  • More information from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

MedlinePlus screenshot


Tips for evaluating consumer health information

When appraising consumer health information, it is important to keep these things in mind:

  • Credibility — Who or what is the source? How current and relevant is the information?
  • Content — Is the content accurate and complete?
  • Disclosure — Is the data source cited?
  • Links — Are there links to other credible information sources to verify the content?
  • Design — Is the website easy to navigate? Does the information flow logically?
  • Interactivity — Is contact information provided, with feedback options?

(Dalhousie Libraries, 2021)

Use this checklist when searching for health information online.

MedlinePlus® is a trusted consumer health information resource for health professionals and patients. Be sure to subscribe to the My MedlinePlus® Weekly Newsletter to stay connected to new and emerging information. For more guidance and tips on MedlinePlus®, check out the Using MedlinePlus® page. If you have questions, please reach out to Library Services.


Dalhousie Libraries. (2021). Evaluation of Health Information on the Web. Retrieved from https://dal.ca.libguides.com/c.php?g=257155

MedlinePlus. (2021). Trusted Health Information for You. Retrieved from https://medlineplus.gov/

Amanda Andrews

Librarian Educator
Cape Breton Regional Hospital, Eastern Zone

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