The Internet Has a Plan to Save You From Sh*tty Medical Advice

If WebMD has ever diagnosed you with cancer, read this

By The Editors
March 20, 2017 9:00 am

The internet, as we’re all now well aware, is a breeding ground for fake intel on everything from political news to “What is this weird discoloration on my leg?”

ICANN, the international board that regulates and names websites, wants to help internet searchers with at least one of those problems: by creating a domain that will verify health sites for legitimacy, protecting you from false diagnoses and treatment plans. It’s called .health.

As of now, it’s in the initial registration phase, with vetting to start in May and the first websites to launch in December 2017. How .health plans to asses sites remains murky, and there’s no plan to limit the number of sites that can register, which could make governance difficult. When the idea first surfaced in 2014, NPR went so far as to speculate that a .health domain could further obfuscate the credibility of online medical resources.

A representative from the registry told us that they’ll be “establishing terms and policies that deter misuse of .health domains” that will be determined by an “advisory board of top individuals from across the industry to create those policies and terms of use.” They also plan to periodically review sites “that clearly violate those terms or policies.”

In the meantime, you’d be well-advised to rely on heavily researched sites like The Mayo Clinic while maintaining a trustworthy family physician for serious inquiries.

And don’t forget to calibrate your own personal BS radar as well.

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