Guide to online health advice

With colds and flus upon us, who can you trust for reliable information online? We give you the low-down.
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02.Online health resources


This Australian government internet gateway allows you to search for information on conditions, diseases, general health (nutrition, fitness) and wellbeing, as well as the latest health news and services. 

It then directs you to one or more of its 80+ partners, all of which meet prescribed criteria for quality, which provides the information. 

Partners include The Black Dog Institute, Cancer Council Australia, Australian Indigenous InfoHealthNet, Vision Australia and the Australian Dental Association.

Better Health Channel

The Better Health Channel provides quality-assured, reliable and up-to-date health, medical and healthy lifestyle information, including about complementary and alternative supplements and therapies, from its content partners that's easy to understand. There are no commercial ads or corporate sponsorship, and it's also a HealthInsite partner.

National Prescribing Service

An Australian government website with everything you need to know about medicines – prescription and over-the-counter.


MedlinePlus is a comprehensive, evidence-based resource for all things medical. Under "Health Topics" it contains information on symptoms, causes, treatment and prevention for more than 900 diseases, illnesses, health conditions and wellness issues, and under Drugs and Supplements there are factsheets on medicines and complementary and alternative medicine supplements. 

It also provides background about the traditional and proposed uses of alternative medicines, warnings and dosage information, as well as reviewing evidence of its efficacy based on clinical research, often with specific references to studies. 

The information and links are regularly reviewed and updated.

ABC Health News

Keep up to date with the latest health news sourced from ABC TV and radio, presented in a consumer-friendly fashion. You can also subscribe to a free weekly email digest with the week's highlights.

Health on the Net

The Health on the Net (HON) foundation is a Swiss-based not-for-profit organisation established in 1995 in an attempt to guide health professionals and consumers world-wide to reliable health information on the net. To meet criteria for HON certification, sites must:
  • Indicate the qualifications of the authors
  • Contain information that supports, not replaces, the doctor-patient relationship
  • Respect the privacy and confidentiality of personal data submitted to the site by the visitor
  • Cite the source(s) of published information, date medical and health pages
  • Back up claims relating to benefits and performance using rigorous sources and in a balanced manner
  • Present material clearly and provide accurate email contact addresses for content and the webmaster
  • Identify funding sources
  • Clearly distinguish advertising from editorial content

DrGoogle_App_HonCodeIf you come across a page with the HONcode logo displayed (pictured left), it indicates the site meets HON criteria for reputable information. You can also search HON for information and it will direct you to websites carrying the logo. 

It's not an iron-clad guarantee of quality, however, and there have been concerns raised about inappropriate content – perhaps placed after the use of the logo was initially awarded. If you see pages with the HONcode logo that you feel don't meet its quality criteria, let them know at


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