Finding quality health websites is not easy, and the stakes are high. Following medical advice from the wrong site can cost you money, waste time and put your health at risk. Today Sitejabber speaks with a health expert — Dr. Margaret Polaneczky, obstetrician/gynecologist and Professor of Cornell University’s Medical School — and asks a few questions about her blog, her favorite health sites, and how we can all stay safe when looking online for information on our health.
Dr. Margaret Polaneczky — A Distinguished Career of Service
Dr. Margaret Polaneczky is a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the Weil Medical College of Cornell University. She has been featured as a medical expert in publications including The Washington Post, The New York Times and the Chicago Tribune. Dr. Polaneczky is the creator and writer of The Blog That Ate Manhattan, a popular blog about medicine, food and New York City. Her blog contains rich information on women’s health care ranging from Pap smears to mammograms but also broaches less serious topics like Dr. Polaneczky’s love of cooking (the blog has enough recipes to fill a cookbook). She notes in her blog that she subscribes to the Healthcare Blogger Code of Ethics, which includes full-disclosure of bias and commercial interests as well as reaffirms her commitment to writing reliably, citing references, being courteous, and protecting the privacy of patients.
Sitejabber: What inspired you to start your blog?
Dr. Polaneczky: It started as a food blog as I am sure you can tell by the name [The Blog That Ate Manhattan]. I started the blog back in 2005. Eventually, it just grew from there to what you see today.
In her blog Dr. Polanescky recognizes that the more she writes, the more she understands the significance of the blog in providing women with accurate medical information. She aims to create an “…unbiased, non-commercial space that helps women make sense of the conflicting, confusing and voluminous health information they are receiving in this digital era, much of it from sources with huge commercial bias and a product to sell.”
Do you have any tips for consumers looking for accurate medical and health information?
- Always look at the “About Us” section of the website to see who’s funding the site. Many health sites have become very commercial so you always need to look to see who’s funding it. If it’s a pharmaceutical industry funding the site then you may need to be careful.
- Avoid sites that have links where they are trying to sell you something.
- Stay away from sites with celebrity endorsements.
Are there health sites that you would recommend or that you use yourself?
I have a section on my blog where I do list medical websites that I recommend.
To what do you attribute your blog’s tremendous growth and popularity?
I never sought to make a commercial blog and never had any advertising on it. It just spread by people telling people.
Sitejabber would like to thank Dr. Margaret Polaneczky for taking the time to speak with us and sharing her tips on how to find reliable health information online.