The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality created Healthcare 411, a news series which offers weekly podcasts on evidence based information and news enabling people to play an active role in their health and health care.

The American College of Physicians (ACP) Foundation through Health TiPS has created an easy to understand guide about a variety of health topics including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), depression, hypertension, smoking, and vaccine information. Information is available in printable one-page forms in English and Spanish allowing you to fill it out and take it to your doctor’s appointment.

Healthfinder.gov managed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services also has a variety of health topics, and general information.

NIH’s Medline Plus is also a good one-stop-shop for basic health information. The site includes a medical encyclopedia to look up tricky words, information on hundreds of prescriptions by brand name, and links to doctors, hospitals and medical libraries across the country.

The National Health Information Center website, part of the NIH system, lists more than 1,400 organizations and government offices that can provide free health information upon request.

For a quick online rundown on a condition, the National Institutes of Health Web site might be the best place to start searching. This site allows you to search for information on a condition by its location in the body, the disease name, or by health issues such as smoking or weight gain.

The Office of Dietary Supplements from the National Institute of Health provides updated fact sheets on commonly used herbs, supplements and vitamins.

WebMD is a reliable standby in the online medical universe. The site offers much of the same general information as the government sites mentioned above, but its style may be friendlier to Web surfers who don’t normally browse government sites.

MedHelp and Mayo Clinic are good examples of other general health information websites.

You can also start your search at one of the newer consumer-oriented sites that offers basic health information complete with video guides, chat rooms, expert blogs, newsletters and personal health record-keeping services.

Original post by the Center for Advancing Health. Updated by the GW Cancer Institute January 2016.