Resources to develop
your critical thinking in medicine
Here is the simplest place to begin:
You can move on from there by increasing the sophistication of your education.
If you go through the tutorials in the first of these websites, you will be prepared to delve right into the material that doctors use to answer questions: scientific research articles. These are all kept in one searchable place, the motherlode of scientific articles: the National Library of Medicine:
Searching and reading here is a lot of work. You may be more interested in reading about scientific articles, instead of reading the articles themselves. If this is your plan, you must be very careful that the party interpreting the article knows how to do so correctly. You might imagine or hope that a reputable nationally known newspaper or news service would report research articles correctly, but oftentimes they don't.
If you want more help in determining whether a website is credible, check out this list from Center for Advancing Health, cfah.org
The National Institutes of Health’s MedlinePlus site has a guide to “healthy” websurfing.
The Medical Library Association offers advice on evaluating health websites, and recommends Top Ten Websites for cancer, diabetes and heart disease information.
CAPHIS, a section of the MLA, also maintains a regularly updated Top 100 list of best health websites.
The National Cancer Institute’s fact sheet about evaluating health information on the Internet offers tips for determining whether a website is potentially biased, unreliable, or out of date.
Health Compass, a site from the American Federation for Aging Research and the Merck Institute of Aging and Health, is designed to help older people navigate the Internet for health information.
The Health on the Net Foundation has created a code of conduct (HONcode) that spells out rules for maintaining reliable and credible health information websites. Sites that abide by these rules can receive a HONcode seal of approval.
For an example, check this Mayo Clinic Site about Complementary and Alternative Medicine:
It is HONcode certified. I am hoping to find out more about this designation and to qualify for it .
Patients did not always seek to learn about their health care. Patient would not have had access to resources to do so and doctors would not have welcomed it. Medical knowledge was hidden, arcane, and accessible only to a privileged few. Moreover these privileged few were almost exclusively men. And then came the women's health movement. This blew open the doors of medical knowledge not only for women but eventually for all patients interested in learning about and having a say in their health care.
Interested in learning more about the Women's Health Movement and the Patient Empowerment Movement which followed ?