Video: Navigating Healthcare Resources Online

Transcript:

Voiceover: This program is made possible with the support and collaboration of Pfizer Oncology.

Carmen:

Welcome back!

Now we’re going to review a few Internet basics to help you get started and to identify informative websites and resources.

Quincy:

Let’s begin with understanding how you get online.

Your tool for accessing websites and resources is called an Internet “browser.” A browser is your entryway to the Internet, and it is what you will use to get online.

Whether it’s Internet Explorer, Safari, Chrome, or another type of browser, your computer or laptop should have one installed already. Chances are, you arrived at these videos by clicking on a link or typing a web address—also known as a URL—into a browser.

Typically, your browser can be found on your desktop or in the applications folder of your computer. 

Another term that we will use throughout this series is “profile.” That’s a term for the account that you set up to utilize a website’s services. To create most online profiles, you simply fill out a form – you usually need an email address and a password to get started.

In some cases, you will be asked to create a username. This is a ‘name’ you create that uniquely identifies you. For example, I may use QuincyP1998 as my username when logging in.

Carmen:

Here are some tips for creating and storing passwords:

  • Use a combination of upper and lowercase letters and numbers.
  • Write down or store your passwords in a safe place, such as a document stored somewhere on your computer–or even in a notebook or journal that is kept in a secure location.
  • Be sure to use different passwords for all of your accounts.

Quincy:

Once you’ve learned how to get online easily and set up a profile, a key tool to use is the patient portal. Patient portals vary depending on where you get your care.

Basically, a patient portal is set up through your doctor’s office or medical center and gives you access to your health information.

Depending on your patient portal, you may be able to do the following:

  • View your lab and test results
  • Request a prescription refill
  • Communicate with your medical team through a private messaging system
  • View and manage your upcoming appointments; and
  • Access resources and tools provided by your healthcare organization

Often, the person at the front desk–or even your nurse–can provide you access and help get you up and running.

Carmen:

It’s also important to know how to stay safe online, especially when you are sharing personal information. Let’s discuss a few types of websites:

  • .org indicates that this is a non-profit organization.
    • Well-known advocacy groups, such as the non-profit organizations the American Cancer Society or The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS), have websites that end in dot O-R-G.
  • .gov indicates that the website is a government organization and the information has been reviewed for accuracy.
  • .com stands for “commercial.” While many of these sites are providing reliable information, it’s advisable to check the sources when visiting these sites.

Online information is never a substitute for medical advice. It’s best to consult with your doctor about what you’ve learned.

Quincy:

And you should be wary of any site that makes bold claims about curing your health condition. Typically, these sites are also endorsing or selling a product. If it seems too good to be true, it usually is. 

Carmen:

Good point, Quincy! Another red flag is when a site asks for your social security number or credit card information. Submitting this information shouldn’t be necessary to accessing information about your health.

And as you get more comfortable online, a good rule of thumb is to start small.

  • Find a few informative websites and follow them closely.
  • Reference the materials provided by your physician.
  • Access your patient portal.

So, to recap:

  • An Internet browser helps you get online.
  • Creating a profile will allow you to use a website’s services.
  • Make sure the sites you use are credible, using the tips we shared.
  • Start small and visit sites that have helpful information.

We know we’ve covered a lot. Remember, you can always re-watch any of these videos to help you along the way.

Next up, we’ll put these tools to work and give you tips to help you build an online support community that can be there for you throughout your health journey.