Our Criteria for Searching the Medical Internet

This website is designed to allow efficient searches on the internet for accurate and current medical information. We offer no clinical information or advice ourselves. Rather, our team of doctors analyzes other medical sites in an effort to weed out the good from the bad. Our database of websites includes only those who we feel offer a high degree of legitimate, helpful medical information.

Reliable Medical Websites began as an on-line presentation of the “Medical Internet Directory” which was first published in 1996.  This directory, http://www.med-list.com , has expanded to over 1500 sites which cover a wide range of medical topics.

The listed sites are peer-reviewed and updated on a monthly basis.  Criteria for selection of these medical websites are presented in the section below (see Selection Criteria).

Reliable Medical Websites is a condensed version of the Med-lIst database and is intended to allow rapid and efficient web searches by presenting only the most comprehensive, current, and reliable medical information.  The selected websites are the “Best of the Best” and are, in general,  easy to use or to navigate.

This website was developed and is maintained by Michael D. Gainey, MD, a board-certified General and Thoracic surgeon, who spent many years in private practice and who currently serves as surgical consultant to the local Veterans Administration  Medical Center.  Dr Gainey lectures on the “Medical Internet” (see the “Medical Internet” presentation) and he is active with academic residency training programs.

Medical Website Selection Criteria

What qualities do we look for in a medical website and what criteria are used in selection for this list? These are valid questions that should be asked frequently. We have thought about the issues for several years and the following seem to be the most important elements:

1. Clarity of presentation,
2. Reliability of information,
3. Utility of website,
4. Clinical application of material,
5. Relevance to medical problems,
6. Does peer review exist?
7. Frequency of updates ,
8. Identification of responsible parties or authors,
9. Is interaction possible with authors (email)?
10. How is website funded? Any conflicts?

Medical information potentially carries more importance than most areas of internet activity for obvious reasons. Persons or families seeking the information are often in distress and may need guidance as well assurance. Truly life-changing decisions may hang in the balance with information acquired through internet sites. For some persons seeking help, this may be their first exposure to medical conditions and available treatments. It can, perhaps, even be the first contact with the healthcare community at large.

Consequently, there are compelling reasons to provide the most accurate, relevant, and comprehensive medical information available to the internet searcher. Issues of reliability of medical information on the internet have been addressed by many organizations in the past and is a subject of ongoing concern. Discussions of these issues of quality and reliability of medical information sources on the web can be found at:




Accuracy of Medical Information on the Internet


Med-List.com – Our Database for medical research.

Med-list is the online presentation of a list of medical websites that have been selected over a period of several years. This collection uses a database developed for a publication titled the “Medical Internet Directory”. The project began in 1995 as a list of internet resources that could be used by medical students and resident physicians when they would use computers for research projects in a library.

The online database that we now know as the World Wide Web expanded at an astounding rate and medical websites likewise grew exponentially. The small list originally compiled for students has expanded to about 1500 sites. Updating and review of websites is essential because the internet is such a dynamic process with sites appearing and disappearing almost daily.

Review of sites for accuracy and relevance has been completed at least annually as a part of the revisions necessary for our publication, the “Medical Internet Directory”, currently in its 5th edition. This directory is an ongoing collection designed to provide the medical and healthcare community with the most accurate information available from the web.

Visit www.healthwebdirectories.com for more information about the Medical Internet Directory.

Project design, development and completion is the result of years of work by M. Craig Heuston and Heuston Consulting, Inc., of Scottsdale, Arizona. M. C. Heuston has had an outstanding career in operations research and has worked for RAND Corporation, the Defense Information Systems Agency, and NATO with previous assignments.

Editorial review and professional commentary has been the responsibility of Michael D. Gainey, M.D., a board-certified thoracic and vascular surgeon who practices in Reno, Nevada. Dr. Gainey is a graduate of University of California, San Francisco, and trained in thoracic and vascular surgery at the University of Colorado, Denver, Colorado, and at USC-affiliated hospitals, Los Angeles, California.

The internet is now a very powerful tool in the hands of the individual. The public is constantly exposed to medical information from all sides and from all types of media. Much of this information is interesting but may not be useful in a clinical or practical context. The internet allows persons to gather facts that will help them make wise decisions regarding their own health or to assist with decisions in the care of a family member. The problem with this approach is that the information found on the web may not be reliable. It may be false, misleading, self-serving, or simply outdated. Consequently, one must be very discerning in the use of medical information gathered from the internet.

Med-list is intended to provide reference material that may aid or supplement opinions received from a doctor or other healthcare professional. The goal of this directory is to try to provide the most reliable information available through the internet on medical and healthcare topics. In that way, intelligent decisions can be made in terms of available treatments for you, your friends, or your family. This website should serve as a valuable resource to enhance the relationship with a treating physician, and in no way is this information meant to replace professional advice or opinions.

Med-list is privately funded through corporate support from Heuston Consulting, Inc. and Medical Dynamics, Inc. Donations from foundations are accepted but are not solicited.

No advertising is accepted, displayed, or requested on Med-list nor does this website receive funding from advertising, from the display of advertising, or from inclusion of an internet site in this reference directory.