With so much news developing about health these days, many people may feel a little overwhelmed.

Fortunately, help may be at your fingertips. A new Site, HealthNewsReview.org, was created to support excellence in health insurance and medical news reporting by grading stories on accuracy, balance and completeness.

“Health care consumers who use HealthNewsReview.org will learn how to look for evidence in virtually any claim made by any source, including news stories,” said Professor Gary Schwitzer of the University of Minnesota School of Journalism and Mass Communication and publisher of the web page. “Readers will become not merely smarter consumers of health care but smarter consumers of news,” he added.

A team of impartial reviewers at the site assesses the quality of the health stories that run in the nation’s top 50 newspapers, the evening network newscasts, Associated Press wire services and weekly news magazines utilizing a standardized rating system. The team includes medical and public medical researchers, journalists and researchers. Funded by the nonprofit Foundation for Informed Medical Decision Making, the website will not provide medical advice-instead it helps readers decipher the often conflicting news about health claims.

“THE BUILDING BLOCKS for Informed Medical Decision Making believes that healthcare consumers should have usage of probably the most timely, accurate and unbiased information when coming up with medical decisions,” said Jack Fowler, president of the Foundation. “Because the media play this type of significant role in how people obtain a lot of this information, HealthNewsReview.org is a natural extension of the Foundation’s mission.”

HealthNewsReview.org uses a star system to rate the stories based on different criteria, including: the novelty and option of the theory; the existence of alternative options; costs of cure or procedure; sources of information in developing the story; and quantification of harms and benefits of a treatment or procedure.

The Web site provides information on many different topics, including breast cancer research, the most recent on children’s vaccines and the value of PSA tests. Euro Newspapers reviews news stories that make a therapeutic claim about specific treatments, procedures, vitamins, nutritional supplements and diagnostic and screening tests. Does Prozac treat anorexia? Will acupuncture cure hot flashes? Each day, the site talks about news stories and helps readers make sense of information that affects individuals and their friends and family.

You can get a wholesome dose of useful information from a new Web site made to assess health reports.

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