A Woman's Wellspring logo

Mini-Medical School 2015 #3

Mini-Medical School 2015 #3

Mini-Medical School #3 2015

Calling Dr. Google?

By Cynthia Johnson, Medical Librarian, Natividad Medical Center

For our third Mini-Medical School of 2015, Cynthia Johnson, Medical Librarian for Natividad Medical Center spoke on searching the Internet for medical information.

She made it very clear that the Internet has no truth in advertising and showed us an amusing website selling dehydrated water. This product was available on Amazon, and she brought in a sample. We passed around the capsuled of non-existent water than can be reconstituted with common tap water. Having made clear that there is no regulation on the Internet, MS Johnson, gave is guidelines for evaluating website information and a portal for reliable sites.

With east coast flair, she enlightened us on the C-R-A-P Test for evaluating website content.

C= Currency– How recent is the information? When was the page updated?

R=Reliability– Is the content fact or opinion? Are there references to support statements?

A= Authority-Can you determine who the author is? What are their credentials? Who is the site sponsor?

P=Purpose/Point of View– What is the purpose if the website? Is it sales? If there are ads on the website, how do they relate to the content? Is the content sales directed or information directed?

There is some regulation of sites, and she showed us the HONCode, and HONSearch certification codes created by the Health on the New Foundation. More information is available at:


The Medical Library Association has also compiled a list of reliable sites and this is available at:


In closing, Cynthia reminded the audience that your local public library has resources for searching as well as interlibrary loans. She also pointed out that the Hartnell college library is open to the public and has a nice collection of medical information.

Our final discussion emphasized the importance of a dialogue with your physician. Internet searches will give you information, but you need the perspective of a seasoned physician to put the information into the context that fits your particular situation.