When headlines risk misinforming the public, the Health News Review acts as a valuable resource, parsing out the story behind the sound bite. The website’s team of reviewers tackle news stories and news releases, run a blog that evaluates the media’s portrayal of various health related headlines, and even offer toolkits to help readers become informed consumers of health news (and to help journalists become better purveyors of public health information!).
The writers of the site recognize that certain topics (stem cell research, genetics and biotech) tend to be sensationalized by the media, and that medical research is often far more complex than its depiction in a popular news outlet. As a result, consumers of health information are often left relying on simplified information that leaves out crucial details. Articles like “7 Words (and more) You Shouldn’t Use in Medical News” and “Tips for Understanding Studies” seek to inform all involved in health news, from its creation to its consumption.
The site seeks to “improve public dialogue about health care by helping consumers critically analyze claims about health care interventions and by promoting the principles of shared decision-making reinforced by accurate, balanced and complete information about the tradeoffs involved in health care decisions.” The content of the Health News Review allows us to demand more from medical news in general, as well as to deepen the patient-doctor dialogue of the day-to-day.