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Consumer Health Resources

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Organizations and Agencies

American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS)
Consumers can verify the certification status of any physician certified by any of the 24 member boards of the American Board of Medical Specialties. (Login required)

American Medical Association (AMA)
AMA DoctorFinder: choose AMA DoctorFinder to locate a doctor by name, specialty and location from over 800,000 physicians licensed to practice in the U.S.

California. Department of Managed Health Care
"The California Department of Managed Health Care was launched on July 1, 2000 to help Californians resolve problems with their HMO as well as ensure a better, more solvent and stable managed health care system." The site includes HMO financial data, data on consumer complaints, Department enforcement actions, and information on getting help from one's HMO. They sponsor the HMO Help Center, where you can get information on health plans, health care rights and a link to a complaint form.

California Health Advocates
Supported in part by the California HealthCare Foundation, this web site "provides accurate, unbiased information about Medicare benefits for people who live in California, and resources for professionals working directly with California’s Medicare beneficiaries." It includes information on managed care, Medigap policies, employer coverage, and disabilities.

Consumer Product Safety Commission
CPSC is "an independent Federal regulatory agency that helps keep American families safe by reducing the risk of injury or death from consumer products."

Consumers Union
Consumers Union is the non-profit publisher of Consumer Reports magazine. Educational and informational material is available on a variety of topics including health care and food safety.

Health Access
Health Access is a broad coalition of over 200 groups including religious organizations, seniors groups, organizations representing people of color, consumer advocacy groups, community organizations and unions, dedicated to achieving quality, affordable healthcare for all Californians. The site tracks health legislation and provides opportunities for advocacy and action.

The Joint Commission (formerly the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations)
JCAHO evaluates and accredits health care organizations and programs in the United States. With Quality Check one can retrieve details of an organization's accreditation or look into particular aspects of the evaluation.

Medical Board of California
The Medical Board of California licenses and disciplines doctors. Consumers can contact the Board to find out license information and to investigate complaints against physicians.

Medicare — The Official U.S. Government Site for Medicare Information
Numerous full-text Medicare publications and interactive databases are available. The Medicare Health Plan Compare and Medigap Compare have detailed information on Medicare's health plan options and Nursing Home Compare contains information on every Medicare and Medicaid certified nursing home in the country.
» Medicare and You Handbook (PDF)

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

National Health Information Center
NHIC is a health information referral center for health professionals and consumers.

2013 Toll-Free Numbers for Health Information
Selected toll-free numbers for organizations that provide health-related information, education, and support.

Health Information Resources
A subject-based list of links to health and medical organizations.

Office of the U.S. Surgeon General
Full-text Surgeon General reports from 1994 to present are available.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Office of Ground and Drinking Water
Current drinking water standards and regulations, information for consumers on their local source of drinking water, and some of their publications full-text.

Office of Pesticides Programs
Includes the pesticide residue limit levels for various foods.

U.S. Food and Drug Administration

Center for Drug Evaluation and Research

Approved Drug Products with Therapeutic Equivalence Evaluations (Electronic Orange Book)

Drug Information page
Information about new and generic drug approvals as well as warning and violation letters.

Newly Approved Consumer Drugs

FDA Consumer Magazine

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Publications and Databases

Aetna InteliHealth
InteliHealth provides access to disease information, medical tests, a medical dictionary, and more. "The InteliHealth Drug Database contains information on over 11,000 brand-name and generic drug entries based on USP DI Volume I, USP DI Volume II, USP DI Patient Education Leaflets, and the Medicine Chart." Also includes a medical dictionary.

American Hospital Directory
The directory "provides on-line data for over 6,000 hospitals. Our database is built from Medicare claims data, cost reports, and other public use files obtained from the federal Health Care Financing Administration."

California HMO Report Card
This database is a compilation of quality information on California's HMOs and the doctors who contract with these HMOs. You can select a county and look at indicators of general quality, heart care, women's health, mental health, and diabetes care. There is also a section on HMO services in other languages, including American Sign Language. From the California Office of the Patient Advocate, an independent office responsible for protecting patient rights in California.

"This Web site is a free resource that provides ratings of long term care providers throughout the state, and helps you choose among options such as nursing homes, home health care agencies, and residential care facilities." The database is searchable by zip code, city, county, region, name of facility, and types of specialized services available. Sponsored by the California HealthCare Foundation.

CenterWatch Clinical Trials Listing Service
Information about industry-sponsored clinical trials as well as listings of international clinical trials actively recruiting patients. You can search for clinical trials by therapeutic area and geographic region.

ClinicalTrials.gov provides regularly updated information about federally and privately supported clinical research in human volunteers. ClinicalTrials.gov gives you information about a trial's purpose, who may participate, locations, and phone numbers for more details. View a tutorial to help you get started. Then search or browse the database by disease, study location, sponsor, and recruitment status.

Community Health Resources (CDC)
This searchable database was created to assist community health partners, coalitions and activists as they navigate CDC's web-based resources for planning, implementing and evaluating community health interventions to address chronic disease and health disparities issues. Use the CDC's links here to help you plan, implement and evaluate community health interventions and programs to address chronic disease and health disparities issues. You'll find links to hundreds of useful planning guides, evaluation frameworks, communication materials, behavioral and risk factor data, fact sheets, scientific articles, key reports and state and local program contacts.

Consumer Guides and Protection (formerly Consumer.gov)
Sponsored by numerous government agencies, this site provides one-stop shopping for a broad range of online federal consumer information. Some categories are food safety, family health, kid's safety, household products, and workplace safety. Access is also provided to the Consumer Action Handbook from the GSA Federal Citizen Information Center. The handbook offers information and advice about consumers' rights and how to make smart choices.

Consumer Protection Page (Federal Trade Commission)
Has the full text of many consumer and business publications on a variety of topics.

Dietary Supplement Label Database (National Library of Medicine) updated
"The Dietary Supplement Label Database (DSLD) is a joint project of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS) and National Library of Medicine (NLM). The DSLD contains the full label contents from a sample of dietary supplement products marketed in the U.S." This database is designed to help users find information about ingredients in brand-name products, including name, form, active and inactive ingredients, amount of active ingredient/unit, manufacturer/distributor information, suggested dose, label claims, warnings, percentage of daily value, and further label information.

Diseases and Conditions Index
The Diseases and Conditions Index (DCI), from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) is a health index that gives you a quick and easy way to get complete and dependable information about heart, lung, and blood diseases and sleep disorders. New topics are added regularly.

From the Administrators in Medicine (AIM) and Association of State Medical Board Executive Directors, with links to participating state licensing authorities.

A portal for consumer healthcare information, drkoop.com provides access to a medical encyclopedia, a drug interactions database, and health news.

Electronic Preventive Services Selector (ePSS)
Find recommendations here by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force on medical screening, counseling, and preventive medications. Searches available by sex, age, and risk factors. Search on the web, your PDA, or other mobile devices such as iPhone, BlackBerry, or Android.

EWG's 2011 Shopper's Guide to Pesticides in Produce (the Environmental Working Group)
This site allows you to see what pesticides you consume on a daily basis and what the potential health effects of those pesticides are. Your food selection is matched against tens of thousands of lab test results for pesticides in food.

EWG's Skin Deep Cosmetics Database (the Environmental Working Group)
EWG has created online safety profiles for over 65,000 cosmetics and personal care products and made these available in this easy-to-search database. The profiles list and rate the safety of the ingredients in each of the products in the database. Includes sunscreens, hair straighteners, shampoos, nail care products, fragrances, and more.

Federal Citizen Information Center
Includes Consumer Alerts, recall information, and numerous publications on various subjects.

Genetics Home Reference (National Library of Medicine)
This is NLM's web site for consumer information about genetic conditions and the genes responsible for those conditions. It currently offers summaries for 72 genetic conditions and 58 genes. It also includes a glossary, and a document explaining basic genetics, mutations, genetic testing, and more.

Go Ask Alice! (Columbia University Health Service)
Go Ask Alice! is a health question and answer service. Alice will answer questions each week about health-related topics such as relationships, nutrition and diet, drugs, sex, alcohol, and stress.

HealthCentral.com provides a rich array of consumer and wellness resources including daily news stories, access to Dr. Dean Edell's television and radio reports, resources by various medical topics, an online encyclopedia, and an option to create and receive personalized health and wellness news and medical reports.

healthfinder, coordinated by the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services), links to carefully selected information and Web sites from over 1,700 government and non-profit health-related organizations.

Healthline Networks offers an easy way for consumers to find excellent health information on the Web. The site is searchable by keyword, but the unique feature is the organization by "health channel." Each topical channel includes images and articles from respected sources that are verified by medical professionals. Also included are graphical tree structures to help guide the search, suggested related topics, relevant tools, and links to information outside the site.

Hospital Compare
This website enables you to get information about hospitals, including the results of the most recent survey in HCAHPS's Online Survey, Certification, and Reporting (OSCAR) Database, the QIO Clinical Warehouse, the 30-day Risk-Adjusted Death (Mortality) Rates and the 30-day Risk-Adjusted Rates of Readmission, among others. "This site displays data provided by acute care "general" hospitals (including acute care - VA Medical Centers), children's hospitals, and "critical access" hospitals, which are small, generally geographically remote rural hospitals."

Household Products Database (National Library of Medicine)
"This database links over 6,000 consumer brands to health effects from Material Safety Data Sheets provided by the manufacturers and allows scientists and consumers to research products based on chemical ingredients. The database is designed to help answer the following typical questions:

International Bibliographic Information on Dietary Supplements (1986-present)
Produced by the National Institutes of Health and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the International Bibliographic Information on Dietary Supplements is a database of published, international, scientific literature on dietary supplements, including vitamins, minerals, and botanicals. Some citations have abstracts and links to journal web sites are provided when known.

International Clinical Trials Registry Platform (ICTRP)
Produced by the World Health Organization, the ICTRP Search Portal allows users to search all trials registered with WHO by primary registers (Australian Clinical Trials Registry, ClinicalTrials.gov, and the International Standard Randomised Controlled Trial Number Register). Upon locating a relevant clinical trial, users can then click on a link that will take them to the relevant record.

Created by The Nemours Foundation's Center for Children's Health Media, KidsHealth provides families with accurate, up-to-date, and jargon-free health information they can use. KidsHealth has separate areas for kids, teens, and parents, each with its own design, age-appropriate content, and tone.

Lab Tests Online
This site describes the many clinical lab tests that are part of routine care as well as diagnosis and treatment of a broad range of conditions and diseases. It includes test descriptions, a library of conditions and diseases linked to the tests typically used for each, news, and more.

MEDLINEplus information pages from the National Library of Medicine (NLM)
This selection of web pages is meant to assist consumers in locating authoritative health information sources. Links to NLM and NIH sites are emphasized. Sections include health topics, dictionaries, directories, organizations, publications/news, and databases. Drug Information on over 9,000 prescription drugs is provided by the United States Pharmacopeia (USP) in the USP DI and Advice for the Patient.

Merck Manual of Medical Information Home Edition
Based on the Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Therapy, this is a consumer version. Contains nearly all the information in the Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Therapy. General medical textbook. Corrections and Late-breaking information to update the book. The interactive version contains photos, videos, animations, pronunciations, and illustrations. Requires Windows 95 and above and RealPlayer G-2+. A plain text version is also available.

National Guideline Clearinghouse
"NGC is a comprehensive database of evidence-based clinical practice guidelines and related documents produced by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, in partnership with the American Medical Association and the American Association of Health Plans."

NIHSeniorHealth.gov (National Institutes of Health)
NIHSeniorHealth.gov features authoritative, up-to-date, and easy to understand health information for seniors, their family members and friends. The site contains detailed information on several relevant health conditions, such as Alzheimer's disease, balance disorders, exercise, and more.

Nursing Home Compare
This website enables you to get information about nursing homes, including the results of the most recent survey in HCAHPS's Online Survey, Certification, and Reporting (OSCAR) Database. This database provides information on every Medicare and Medicaid certified nursing home in the United States.

Pillbox (National Library of Medicine)
Pillbox was developed to aid in the identification of unknown solid dosage pharmaceuticals. The system combines high-resolution images of tablets and capsules with appearance information (imprint, shape, color, etc.) to enable users to visually search for and identify an unknown solid dosage pharmaceutical. Once a pill has been identified, additional information is provided, including brand/generic name, ingredients, and the National Drug File identification number. Links are provided to NLM drug information resources, such as drug labels (DailyMed) and the Drug Information Portal, which searches all NLM drug information resources. The images cover about 15 percent of the more than 10,000 solid dosage forms of the 4,075 human prescription medications on the US market, and a higher percentage of frequently prescribed medications.

Polling the Nations (1986-present)
Note: Access limited to UCB faculty, staff, and students.
Polling the Nations is a compilation of more than 14,000 surveys on over 5,000 topics. The polling was conducted by over 700 organizations in the United States and more than 90 other countries.

PubMed Health (U.S. National Library of Medicine)
"PubMed Health offers up-to-date information on diseases, conditions, drugs, treatment options, and healthy living, with a special focus on comparative effectiveness research from institutions around the world. PubMed Health is produced by the National Center for Biotechnology, a division of the National Library of Medicine."

SaferProducts.gov (U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission)
"Through SaferProducts.gov, consumers, child service providers, health care professionals, government officials and public safety entities can submit reports of harm (Reports) involving consumer products. Manufacturers (including importers) and private labelers identified in Reports will receive a copy of the Report, and have the opportunity to comment on them. Completed Reports and manufacturer comments are published online at www.SaferProducts.gov for anyone to search." Product recalls can also be searched from this site.

Surgeons General's Reports on the Web (U.S. National Library of Medicine)
Full text (PDF) of all Surgeon General's Reports from 1964 to present. This site also includes relevant articles, bibliographies, proceedings, and photographs.

Water On Tap: What You Need to Know (EPA Office of Water)
This report provides information about the quality of U.S. drinking water safety and answers some frequently asked questions.

WebMD Symptom Checker new
This website walks you through checklists to make suggestions as to what might be causing your symptoms. Registered users can save a symptom history.

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HealthLinks (Health Information from the University of Washington)
An extensive set of health realted links, inluding a free subscription news and information digest. You can also receive journal article citations daily or weekly on topics of interest.

Web Sites You Can Trust
This guide, from the Consumer and Patient Health Information Section (CAPHIS) of the Medical Library Association, provides links to sites reviewed by librarians for accuracy, credibility, currency, and other criteria. Includes sections on general health, women's health, men's health, parenting and kids, seniors, specific health problems, drug info, and more.

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» Public Health Internet Resources

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