Highlight on Health Information

Our health and the health of those we care about is important to everyone. Finding reliable information is more challenging than ever, but having access to information can also empower us to advocate for ourselves and others.

  • Fake news and misinformation around health issues is not new. The COVID-19 pandemic brought it to a new level though. Much of what you do to evaluate any source applies here, but you may want to take more steps to prevent the spread of misinformation.
  • The U.S Surgeon General, the National Library of Medicine, NIH, Medical Library Association, WHO and many others are addressing this challenge.

In this KFF News Release on August 22, 2023, Drew Altman sums up the challenge nicely.

Most people aren’t true believers in the lies or the facts about health issues; they are in a muddled middle,” KFF President and CEO Drew Altman said. “The public’s uncertainty leaves them vulnerable to misinformation but is also the opportunity to combat it.”

Below you will find some resources to guide you in your own evaluation or to learn ways to help others.

APA Consensus Statement

  • Susceptibility: Why do People Believe Misinformation?
  • Growth: How and Why Does Misinformation Spread?
  • Response: Interventions to Counter Misinformation
  • Recommendations

Surgeon General Advisory!

Surgeon General's Advisory

An advisory is meant to call the American people's attention to a public health issue and provides recommendations.

In 2021, the Surgeon General's office released, Confronting Health Misinformation.

Evaluating websites containing heath information

On the internet that might be a website or it could be a post on social media. Typically, a post on Twitter, Instagram, Tik Tok, etc. should include a link or reference where the information is coming from or where their claims are coming from.

Much like the S.I.F.T tool, you want to take your time to learn about the source.

investigate icon

  1. Who runs the site?
  2. Who pays for it? (the url can provide a hint but is not all that determines it's value)
  3. What is the purpose of the site? Is it to educate and inform? Is it selling something? Can you find other sources to back it up?
  4. Is the original source of information clearly stated? The site might be using it's own research and documents or, often a site will pull information from other sources. Is that clearly identified?
  5. Are there links to to citations and data referenced.
  6. Are the site contributors and reviewers included, clearly showing their expertise?
  7. How current is the site's information? Does it include the date?
  8. Do they include policies about how content is selected?



There are several initiatives and resources available to assist you. It is not easy to sift through all of the information we receive every day.


The United Nations initiative:

United Nations links to website


World Health Organization (WHO) -Combatting Misinformation Online

Infodemic: overabundance of information – some accurate and some not – that occurs during an epidemic. It can lead to confusion and ultimately mistrust in governments and public health response.


MedlinePlus _Evaluating Health Information



Contains similar tips on how to evaluate information on diseases and medical conditions. MedlinePlus also offers health information that has been carefully reviewed.