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Search Topic 41:

Health Care Megasites

Web Search Guides

by Joseph Ryan, Editor

Overview Of Topic

"Health care" and "online medical information" are among the most searched-for keyword phrases on the Internet today. Research reveals that more than 65% of Americans use the Internet at least occasionally to find information about medical problems or issues.

But online medical research can be a challenge as there are now literally thousands of sites offering consumer-oriented health info of varying degrees of thoroughness and reliability. Probably the safest approach is to confine your research to the blue-chip megasites with millions of visitors per month. This article profiles some of the best of these.

1. Mayo Clinic

"The Needs Of The Patients Come First" has been the primary and the underlying principal of this world-renowned nonprofit healthcare clinic established by the Mayo brothers in 1889 in Rochester Minnesota. The company's huge website, at, provides diagnostic and treatment information on virtually every disease and ailment known, all of which are listed alphabetically.

If you click on, say, Acute Leukemia, the link takes you to a page offering an overview of the disease, as well as a listing of the various blood tests and other diagnostic methods available. The patient can then read details about treatment options which are available. One especially nice feature of the site is that it offers stories of real people who have won the battle against serious illnesses such as acute leukemia.

Additional features include complete profiles of the various doctors who are serving at the Mayo Clinic and the capability to make online appointments with them. You can also refill prescriptions and view and pay bills on the site.

2. WebMD is an amazing source of online medical information. True to its punch line, "Better Information, Better Health", this website has a lot to offer. For starters, it can be used to locate a specialist or a hospital close to your home location. If you are planning to take a drug that is new to the market, then you definitely need to visit the review section to find details about it before starting to use it.

On the WebMD home page you can find a number of attractive slide show packages dealing with topics varying from how to increase the chances of pregnancy, to a recommended thirty minute workout schedule, to a slide show on dental fixes. There are lots of medical news tidbits as well as an Expert column that enables you to send a query to an expert. You can even post your own tips and advice on the message board. If you are overweight and planning a diet, then use the BMI calculator to find your ideal body weight and a calorie calculator to find how many calories you burn during half an hour walking expedition. The site has many other diagnostic features and services ? too many to list here. Overall, it's terrific place to begin most kinds of online medical research. In fact, you may not need to look any further.

3. Revolution Health

Revolution Health ( is an amazingly comprehensive health information website. Take a few minutes to look it over - it's a resource you should probably bookmark. Registration is required but this merely requires that you provide your email address and set up a password. For this small investment in time you will have access to doctor-finding and rating tools, hospital comparative rating charts, disease/medication/treatment research tools, health risk assessment, exercise tracking tools, a 6-week healthy living program, many free newsletters, and much more. You can also sign up for a Premium Membership ($129./year) which provides a "Health Assistant and Advocate" to counsel you in dealing with virtually any type of health question or concern, from finding treatment options to dealing with your health insurance provider. Its a very cool, very useful site and you could spend many hours profitably perusing it.

3. Joslin Diabetes Center

A research paper published by the American Medical Association (AMA) shows that about eight percent of Americans are suffering from diabetes ? that's about 16 million people. Half of them are not even aware of the problem, sometimes due to incorrect diagnoses. Diabetes is a condition in which insulin secretion is reduced thus restricting an individual?s ability to process sugar or foods high in fat content. This in turn damages the patient?s blood vessels and eventually starts impacting the vital body organs like kidneys, eyes etc.

Joslin Diabetes Center ( provides comprehensive information about the various types of diabetes, diabetes management, how to diagnose diabetes and, most importantly, what complications may sooner or later be faced by a patient suffering from diabetes, as well as preventive measures. A unique and interesting feature is a collection of recipes that have been specially developed for diabetes patients. These recipes clearly show that a diabetic can enjoy a good meal without compromising his/her overall health. A must visit on the site is the nutrition library, which provides a plethora of information and recommendations about day-to-day life with this disease. The site also provides several online courses to enhance your knowledge of this silent killer, plus discussion boards where you can share and gain information.

4. Buying Medicines Online

There are now many legal and ethical sites where you can buy medicines online. (Note that this is distinct from illegally purchasing prescription drugs online without a prescription, which is extremely unwise for many reasons.)

Sites like Medicine Online (, enable you to buy medicines from the pharmacy offering them at the best possible price. The Medicine section of the site allows you to enter your request for prescription medicines, meal supplements, vitamins, etc. Then online pharmacy companies respond to your bids with their best pricing options and service conditions. This helps you engage in safe online purchasing of your drugs at the best possible price. Similarly, you can invite bids if you are about to undergo a surgery and are looking for the best clinics and medical facilities at optimum pricing.

The site provides a rich online medical information journal discussing the latest technologies, medical instruments and drugs that are being used by current day practitioners to treat ailments. It also gives detailed information about preventive measures that users can take to protect themselves from numerous diseases.

5. Wrong Diagnosis

Wrong Diagnosis ( ) is an eye-opener for anyone researching a medical condition. The site's home page displays details of the ten most common ailments from which people suffer today like diabetes, anxiety, allergies, asthmas, cold, flu etc,. Each of these links takes you to a detailed description of the condition or disease, its symptoms, diagnostic tests, and treatment options. In short, this site offers a virtual encyclopedia listing all the details of most commons ailments. There are also case studies and true life stories of patients, which can be a great morale booster for those afflicted with serious illnesses.

Part II. Additional Resources

To continue your research about online medical information the following useful resources can be tapped:

My Electronic MD

While self-diagnosis online is hardly a substitute for seeing your doctor, it can provide some useful insights, especially in the case of minor health problems, and this is turning into an enormously popular online research topic.

My Electronic MD ( is worth a look as a typical offering in this area. This (admittedly somewhat cheesy) website offers online medical diagnosis for both men and women. By clicking on a particular body part, a list of diseases likely to affect that particular area of human anatomy is displayed. Then, once you've selected a particular ailment or disease, a list of possible symptoms appears. Selection of a symptom takes you to a page displaying details of possible causes (e.g., diseases) as well as a list of various tests that should be conducted to correctly diagnose the problem and the possible treatments which are available. Again, a site like this can be informative, even reassuring, but is hardly a substitute for a visit to a doctor.

Weight Watchers

Obesity is of course essentially a health problem ? in fact it's often the root cause of various ailments like diabetes, heart attacks, hypertension and joint pains. Doctors tell us that being 40% above your normal weight can be life threatening. A Nielson study has shown that 73% of all women worldwide diet at least once during their lifetimes, and the men are starting to catch up. Hundreds of thousands of Internet users search online daily for methods of losing unwanted weight and keeping it off.

Weight Watchers (, established in 1963 by Jean Nidetch, is the number one site in this field, providing tons of good support material, advice, low calories recipes, online diaries and forums, etc. Given that there are are so many charlatans out there promising you easy weight loss, Weight Watchers is probably as good a place as any to gravitate to for this type of information and advice.

National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse

Here's another great site on diabetes, which is turning into something approaching a health plague in the U.S.. The National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse ( provides A to Z information about diabetes, its causes, preventive measures and cures. If you have been recently diagnosed with diabetes this site will be of considerable interest to you, providing an in-depth tutorial about the disease and its causes, precautions to be taken, tips on controlling it, and dangers which can result from uncontrolled sugar levels. This site is a bible for anyone suffering from diabetes.

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