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January 27, 1997

Health Information on the InternetOpportunities and Pitfalls

Author Affiliations

University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey Robert Wood Johnson Medical School Clinical Academic Building, Second Floor 125 Paterson St New Brunswick, NJ 08903-0019 This work was supported by Research Career Development Award LM00096 from the National Library of Medicine, Bethesda, Md.

Arch Intern Med. 1997;157(2):151-152. doi:10.1001/archinte.1997.00440230013002

The Internet continues to grow in popularity, particularly the segment known as the World Wide Web. Nielsen Media Research recently reported1 that up to 24% of all people in the United States aged 16 years and older had access to the Internet as of March 1996. The universal graphical interface supported by Web browsing programs has made the riches of the Internet available to the masses, including those with little computer knowledge or skill. A large and increasing number of medical sites are available.2I recently searched the Web for the key words medical or health and retrieved more than 3 800 000 documents. Internet-related medical publications increased from 0 in 1992 to 107 in 1995.3

The scope of health-related applications on the Internet is as broad as medicine itself. Most medical schools and many hospitals have Web sites, which, in part, serve as marketing devices, but

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