Physicians nowadays encourage patients to engage in self-management of illnesses in order for them to be more independent and rely less on doctors. This is especially important for diabetics because it allows a patient to incorporate treatment and management of their blood sugar into their daily routine without spending time to sit and wait at a physician’s office. In this case, all the information a diabetic patients can get their hands on is essential if they are going to lead a normal life, with as few visits to the doctor’s office as possible. Basic diabetes management includes knowing how to recognize high blood sugar, low blood sugar (hyper- and hypo- glycaemia respectively), knowing when to eat and what to eat, knowing when and how to administer insulin shots or other hypoglycaemia medications; also testing and recording blood sugar levels and where to acquire diabetes supplies and how to store them. Many health information websites offer tips on how to manage diabetes. For this project, I have chosen to take a look at Medline Plus.
The headline of the topic on the page is Diabetes Education, which in itself is a brief description of the structure of the content one expects to find. It seems that the information is well presented and is both practical and relevant. It is arranged in a concise but step-by-step tutorial manner which adds to its provision of unadulterated, trustworthy information for diabetics. Also Medline Plus is the website created for the convenience of patients of the National Institutes of Health and their family and friends. They insist that the health information offered is accurate and up to date.
One might question the accuracy of the information presented on the website, however, a quick look at the sources confirms the richness and accurateness of the information presented. Authors and editors include anMD and Professor of Medicine from the University Of Washington School Of Medicine. Also, the article was reviewed by the Medical Director from A.D.A.M., Inc. Being the website of a well recognised institute demands accurate and up to date information to be presented, for the sake of the reputation of the institute. The welcome page clearly states that,
“Health professionals and consumers alike can depend on it for information that is authoritative and up-to-date. Medline Plus has extensive information from the National Institutes of Health and other trusted sources on over 900 diseases and conditions.”
Information found on the web page is consistent with information on managing diabetes found in the American Diabetes Association Journal. Also, the aforementioned contributors to the web’s content are constantly updating it with new information. The last update was on 5/22/2011 for this topic, however the last update to the website was in April of this year. The openness of the web page to updates from experienced doctors ensures that up to date information is provided to the readers.
Objectivity and Content
The aim of the website is to provide free information for its users on all health topics. It also has tutorials, medical encyclopaedia and a medical available on site. Information on drugs and treatments is available for certain conditions, and thus it is a suitable website for diabetes management education. It offers an introductory interactive tutorial on the topic of diabetes in general, which would be useful for parents when teaching children with diabetes.
MedlinePlus is a well constructed, well researched and useful website for personal and educational use. I think this site’s first impression is inviting because it is simple. The reader is not distracted nor bombarded by meaningless and unrelated advertisements, which are the undoing of many other websites. The homepage has just enough information to educate the reader on what the website is about, and is not riddled with countless tabs that would leave one’s head spinning. Simplicity is one of the best qualities of this website. It also uses a tone of instruction, which makes the subject matter easy to understand. For example, on instructing patients on self care regarding hypoglycaemia, there is a step by step outline of the actions that need to be done. The topic of diabetes management is vast and requires more than one web-page to address. MedlinePlus handled this issue well by sub-dividing topics according to the introduction page of Diabetes Education and yet providing tabs on each subsequent page to alternate topics. It is an accurate and resourceful website.