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What are some resources to help patients be informed about their diseases, injuries, or conditions?

The better informed patients are about their diseases, injuries, and conditions, the better able they are to ask questions of physicians, understand treatment options, understand treatment plans, and be motivated to carry out treatment plans. There are many sources of this kind of information, including the following online resources–

Diseases and Treatments from A to Z
www.checkbook.org/health/disease-treat.cfm
A website developed by CHECKBOOK/CSS with a collection of links to various websites (including some listed below) on common diseases and treatments, with links to comprehensive guides on these diseases and treatments; fact sheets, tutorials and interactive tools; videos and podcasts; patient forums and support communities; clinical practice guidelines; and important articles from medical journals.

Healthfinder
www.healthfinder.gov
A free gateway to reliable consumer health and human services information developed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Mayo Clinic
www.mayoclinic.com
General-information website with Mayo's advice and information, including such features as "Diseases and Conditions A-Z," "Condition Centers," "Healthy Living," and "Health Tools."

MedlinePlus
medlineplus.gov
A consumer-oriented website that brings together authoritative information from the U.S. National Library of Medicine, the National Institutes of Health, and other government agencies and health-related organizations. Includes extensive information about drugs, an illustrated medical encyclopedia, interactive patient tutorials, and recent health news.

PubMed
www.pubmed.gov
A service of the U.S. National Library of Medicine that includes over 17 million citations from academic journals for biomedical articles dating back to the 1950s. Includes links to many abstracts, full text articles, and other related resources.

National Guideline Clearinghouse
www.guideline.gov
A resource sponsored by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality that gives information on current guidelines for the diagnosis and treatment of diseases.

Merck Manuals Online Medical Library
www.merckmanuals.com and www.mercksource.com
Includes the "Merck Manuals Home Edition," which explains disorders, who is likely to get them, their symptoms, how they're diagnosed, how they might be prevented, how they can be treated, and prognoses. Also includes the "Merck Manual of Health and Aging" and other resources.

University of Pittsburgh Medical Center-Managing Your Health
http://www.upmc.com/health-library/
Consumer-oriented website with information on conditions and diseases, procedures, and drugs. Includes an "anatomy navigator," health tools and calculators, a medical dictionary, and other resources.

As an alternative to these online resources, patients can use available libraries. At any major public library, you can ask for general consumer-oriented medical literature or for medical texts. For more in-depth information, you can use a medical school library. These libraries may also be able to help patients find support groups and organizations that regularly provide information on the patient's type of medical problem.

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