Health Resources in the Time of Fake News

Now more than every it is important to ensure that the places you get your health information from are reputable and accurate. But how do you know? These are the things librarians look at when verifying a source of information:

  • Currency: Is the information recent, or have there been newer updates?
  • Relevancy: Why are you choosing this information over other resources? What is the scope? Is this resource general or specific?
  • Accuracy: Is this information correct? Is it complete? Has it been reviewed or cited by other researchers in this field? Can you find other articles that say the same information?
  • Authority: Is the author, creator, qualifications, or organization clearly stated? What is their reputation? What type of credentials do they have, and are they appropriate to your topic?
  • Purpose: Who is the intended audience? Is the site trying to sell anything? What biases does the author have and how do they affect the resource? For example, say you find an article that says that chocolate lowers your risk of heart disease, but the research was conducted by a company that sells chocolate. There is a large chance that there is bias here because the chocolate company wouldn’t publish something that said their product was bad for you.

Here are some resources that we have verified for you:

  • Government of Canada – COVID-19: The Government of Canada has up to date case counts, a self-assessment tool, and detailed information for the public, health workers, and businesses.
  • Consumer Health Complete: Consumer Health Complete is designed for the everyday consumer of health care information. It provides convenient access to easily understandable health and medical information. Requires your library card to access.
  • British Columbia Centre for Disease Control: The BC Centre for Disease Control, a program of the Provincial Health Services Authority, provides provincial and national leadership in disease surveillance, detection, treatment, prevention and consultation.
  • Interior Health: Our Regional Health Authority has great resources on their website regarding a hole host of conditions, services, and tips for specific populations.
  • HealthLink BC: HealthLink BC provides reliable non-emergency health information and advice in British Columbia. Information and advice is available by telephone, our website, a mobile app and a collection of print resources.
  • First Nations Health Authority: The First Nations Health Authority (FNHA) works to reform the way health care is delivered to BC First Nations through direct services and collaboration with provincial partners. The FNHA is governed by and serves BC First Nations individuals and communities.​
  • World Health Organization: WHO works worldwide to promote health, keep the world safe, and serve the vulnerable.
  • Canadian Mental Health Association As the nationwide leader and champion for mental health, CMHA facilitates access to the resources people require to maintain and improve mental health and community integration, build resilience, and support recovery from mental illness.
  • HereToHelp: A group of seven leading mental health and substance use non-profit agencies working together to help people live well and better prevent and manage mental health and substance use problems.

For more details on how to evaluate information, check out this resource from our friends at the Thompson Rivers University Library:

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