When it comes to evaluating websites to help you cope with how postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS) affects your life, what’s your approach?
Here’s what I look for (in order of importance):
- Reputable information that I can check for accuracy and scientific validity. If the site doesn’t include references to articles published in well-respected medical journals and a way for me to access those articles personally, I’m wary. For a tutorial about learning how to evaluate health websites, click here.
- A professional-looking layout, and content that is current. I admit that I’m biased against “homemade” sites, even while I admire people for trying to get information out there on the cheap. I think that making an effort to present information in a professional format shows dedication to, and seriousness about, the topic. If nothing’s been updated since 2012 and links don’t work, I’m likely to move on to other sites.
- One of the first things I do is scroll down as far as the website goes to see if there’s a HON (Health On the Net) certification icon. You can learn more about HON here. While I’m at the very bottom of the site, I look for recent copyrights and sponsorship logos/information.
Recently, I saw a headline for article that explained the different types of POTS (here’s the link). The link was to a page on the Orthostatic Intolerance Center website. Overall, the information about POTS was good and references were included.
The overall tone was welcoming and patient-friendly. The site’s stated goal is to bring together a wide variety of information, so people with OI issues can find it on one site:
“It is our plan to make this a living, interactive resource for people [sic] with orthostatic intolerance, and for their caregivers, healthprofessionals [sic] and all members of the healing team.”
But some of the links don’t go anywhere, there are obvious misspellings (see above quote)… and the last time the homepage was updated was September 18, 2012.
My verdict? I don’t think it’s a dangerous site. I think it started as a well-intentioned one that proved too much to keep current. So, learn what you can from it, but be cautious about entering any personal information when they ask you to “Sign Up.”