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How Do I Find Information
About My Health?

Learning general information
Finding specific information about my problem
Information about cancer
Information about alternative medicine

Where Can I Find General Information?

Consumer advocates suggest that the most reliable information comes from those who have nothing to sell. The Maine Quality Forum has selected links to sites we believe provide useful information.

When looking at information on these pages remember that it may be difficult to decide if the information applies to you. Sometimes we ask the wrong question or assume facts about our situation that are incorrect.  For those reasons, the Maine Quality Forum strongly recommends that you discuss what you have learned with your health care provider. All quality providers are pleased to know that their patients are involved in their own care.

These web sites will help you learn more about your health questions. We have not reviewed all possible web sites.

Medline Plus - National Library of Medicine consumer portal

guideline.gov - National Guidelines Catalog

Where Can I Find Specific Health Research?

The information provided in medical journals can be very difficult to understand. If you go to the National Library of Medicine web site to learn about your own health issues you may find it hard to understand the articles you find. We are not discouraging you from doing so; just realize that the information may confuse you more than help you. If you are confused by any information you find ask your health care provider to help. The National Library of Medicine web site has excellent resources for public use. We recommend that you start there.

Do you want to know about the “best practices” for the care of your condition? The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality maintains a web site to catalog best practices. 

A “best practice” describes the way to treat of an illness that medical experts agree works most effectively. We all know that experts can disagree. Also, we have to realize that we learn new things every day and that what is “best practice” today may be different tomorrow. Because best practices are the accepted approach, they may not represent the latest information. It takes time for new discoveries to gain wide acceptance. However, “best practices”, “clinical guidelines” and “care paths”, which all mean the same thing, are always a good starting point to discuss your care.If you are interested in “best practices” for the care of your condition, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality

Where Can I Find information About Cancer?

The internet is an ideal source for information on cancer and the treatment of cancer. We are always hopeful that an effective treatment is soon to be discovered for every cancer. New options are available daily. Only the internet can keep up with the constant changes.

Please remember to discuss what you have learned with your physician to make sure you started with the correct information and asked the correct questions.

Obtain information about a specific situation to choose treatment options.

http://www.cancer.org/
http://www.cancer.gov/

Learn more about ongoing research and clinical trials.

http://www.cancer.gov/clinicaltrials
http://www.peoplelivingwithcancer.org

Connect with other people and share concerns and experiences.

http://www.acor.org/

How Do I Find Information About Alternative Medicine?

Alternative medicine has come to mean treatment options that are out of the main stream. This category of care is huge. Some of the treatments have been discovered by thousands of years of experience; others reflect efforts to make money. It is difficult to find information that is valid. We all know that science is not perfect. And we know that having faith in a treatment may be part of treatments usefulness.

The Maine Quality Forum recommends that you do your homework before starting any plan of care. The questions are always the same.

If you choose an alternative path of care rather than a more generally accepted path of care you must understand the risks of avoiding treatments. If you choose an alternative path of care you need to understand the risks of that path itself. For example many alternative herbal treatments increase the risk of bleeding, which will increase the risk of other treatments. Please remember to tell all of your providers, all of your treatments.

The reliable site that we recommend is sponsored by the National Institutes of Health at www.nccam.nih.gov/.



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