ChatGPT and similar AI bots tell you to double-check health information they provide. However, choosing the best resources to verify this information can be tricky. Here’s how to find and use reputable sources for health information online.
For any serious or recurring issues, contact your physician or set up a telemedicine appointment. While ChatGPT can offer reliable health information, it can’t replace a medical professional’s evaluation of your particular issue.
When prompted, the chatbot itself will even reiterate this idea. Although AI technology will affect the future of healthcare in a number of ways, it isn’t likely to replace the human component in the near future. For the most important medical questions, continue to rely on your personal physician or healthcare provider.
2. Rely on Established Medical Resources
Many medical resources available online provide reliable, reputable, evidence-based information. Even better, they present the facts in a straightforward way, making them more accessible to people from all sorts of backgrounds (not only medical professionals). These are some examples:
- Mayo Clinic: The nonprofit medical practice and academic research organization is well known for providing extensive health information on many conditions, and it offers facts about treatments and preventive care as well. Use its extensive health library to double-check information about diseases, supplements, and even general lifestyle advice.
- National Health Service (NHS): England’s healthcare system, the NHS runs a website filled with plenty of articles on medication, general health topics, and current news. Research symptoms, learn about all kinds of conditions, and get more facts about mental health conditions here.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): This US government agency provides reliable information about diseases, vaccinations, and basic health advice. Use its resources to stay healthy while traveling, research just about any health topic, and get up-to-date data and statistics about everything from heart disease to diabetes.
- World Health Organization (WHO): A United Nations agency, the WHO provides global health information, updates on the latest health news, and extensive research. Its Fact Sheets resource in particular presents all kinds of health-related data and facts in a simple, straightforward way, whether you’re looking into animal bites or the Zika virus.
- National Institutes of Health (NIH): One of the most prominent research institutions, the NIH provides comprehensive information about all sorts of health topics, clinical trials, and up-to-date medical research.
In addition, many hospital websites also provide general medical information. If you need to fact-check any medical advice from ChatGPT or similar AI chatbots, then these trusted websites can help you learn more about nearly any health-related topic.
3. Be Wary of Commercial Sites
If you’re using online sources, then check the end of your resource’s URL. If it ends in .gov, .edu, or .org, then it’s likely a nonprofit or educational website. For the most part, websites with these addresses provide beneficial information to the public for free.
Those that end in .com, or commercial sites, may also provide helpful information. In many instances, however, these sites are more focused on selling you something, according to the National Institute on Aging. If you’re trying to fact-check other information, then a nonprofit or educational site may offer more neutral facts.
4. Use Apps With Care
When it comes to health apps, exercising caution is crucial. While official apps from hospitals and medical facilities are generally considered trustworthy, apps from companies or individuals may not always provide the most accurate or reliable information.
If you want to rely on an app, then evaluate the source, check out user reviews and ratings, and check for endorsements or certifications from reputable healthcare organizations.
In general, health apps should complement professional medical advice—not replace it. In this instance, they may not provide the best way to fact-check information from other sources.
5. Take Care With Personal Sites, Influencers, and Other Individuals
When it comes to the question of whether health and fitness influencers are beneficial or harmful to your health, there isn’t a straightforward answer. In general, exercising caution is a smart idea.
While there are plenty of great medical professionals who offer helpful health information on social media or other sites, not every health and wellness influencer offers the most reliable information. For every influencer with expertise in their respective field, many others lack medical training or qualifications.
In addition, influencers may promote products or practices based on personal experiences or anecdotes, and these aren’t always supported by research. If their claims don’t seem quite right, or they’re pushing products that offer a quick fix, then look for other resources.
If you want to go this route, then look for influencers who collaborate with reputable healthcare professionals, cite credible sources, and promote evidence-based practices. Be cautious of those who make bold claims, promote miracle cures, or provide information that contradicts medical knowledge.
If you’re trying to double-check information from ChatGPT or similar sources, however, then this may not be the best avenue in general.
6. Trust Your Gut
If your AI bot presents health information that doesn’t seem quite right, then trust your gut. Although these applications are incredibly powerful, they aren’t all-knowing.
In addition, AI hallucination responses—in which artificially intelligent chatbots present factually incorrect information in an authoritative manner—are still an issue. While there are ways to spot AI hallucination in a chatbot’s responses, it can be tricky to separate the true information from the false.
In these events, take extra care to run the provided information by a trusted medical resource (or your own physician).
Use Trusted Resources to Double-Check Health Information From ChatGPT
When it comes to fact-checking health information provided by AI bots like ChatGPT, it’s important to exercise caution and choose reliable resources. For any serious or recurring health issue, consult with a qualified medical professional for a personalized evaluation. In other cases, rely on established medical resources such as the Mayo Clinic, NHS, CDC, WHO, and NIH.
Use more caution with health influencers and commercial sites. Overall, combining professional medical guidance with reputable sources is a great way to fact-check health information from AI chatbots.