Catisha R. Benjamin, MLIS
Manager of Library Services, Children’s Hospital Colorado
Adjoint Faculty, University of Colorado Anschutz – Health Sciences Library
WebMD is a health information services website that provides the public and healthcare professionals with updated information on health conditions and how to check symptoms.
WebMD can be used to find:
- Health Conditions A-Z
- Drugs & Supplements
- Living Healthy
- Family & Pregnancy
- News and Experts
- Trending Videos
- Trending Topics
- Top Stories
- Check Your Symptoms
- Find a Doctor
- Find Lowest Drug Prices
- Popular Tools
The WebMD search is a basic search, providing ads by Google, WebMD Spotlight, drug results, and pictures regarding symptoms. There are no advanced searches or filters to narrow results. The search functionality is user friendly for public use. Results are quick and straight to the point.
Health A-Z is a feature to research Common Topics such as acne, asthma, knee pain, and other common issues, which provides an overview of the selected topic. There are also guides, top search terms regarding surgery, medications, and treatments. There are also recommended slide shows, videos, and tools and resources to research in Common Topics.
All Heath Topics is easy to navigate for the user who may struggle to locate results. The topics start off in alphabetical order, but users have the option to select the first letter of the topic they are looking for. They then have the option to listen to overviews, see synonyms for the topic, and references to organizations for more resources. It would appear that using All Health Topics and Common Topics may yield the same search results, but users can only tell once they search in both sections.
Drugs & Supplements
Selecting Drugs and Supplements brings up a webpage listing Drugs and Medications A-Z. (WebMD should update this feature by selecting one name so there is no confusion.) Once in this section, users have the option to search drug names or conditions. When users type in the name of a drug, the results will be exact matches or matches containing the drug name. The drug names also contain the information whether it is an over-the-counter or prescription drug.
The drug information includes common brand names, generic names, and lowest prices. The section also lists uses, side effects, precautions, interactions, overdose, images, and reviews of the drugs. This is helpful for users who may have questions for their doctor or pharmacist before taking medication. This can also help a user who may have side effects that are not common. The site directs users to call their doctor if they experience any of the listed side effects, and users also have the option to report the side effects to the FDA.
The WebMD mobile app is very user friendly. Users can access the symptom checker, conditions, drugs and treatments, first aid essentials, and the pill identification tool. The mobile app also gives users the opportunity to locate physicians, hospitals, and pharmacies in their local area.
Hospitals and institutions can add the WebMD link to their website at no cost. WebMD is also for public use and user friendly for anyone who would like to research symptoms of a possible illness or disease. WebMD is financed by sponsors, advertisers, and third-party contributors.
WebMD is a useful tool for anyone who is looking for possible side effects of medications, common topics, and symptoms that may need medical assistance. It is also a great tool for healthcare professionals to use to inform the public about health issues and ways to improve health. I have used WebMD to look up symptoms of illnesses, and it has assisted me in my decisions to make an appointment with my primary care physician.