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E-mail From Washington

From: CNN Washington
In: Washington
Posted: 4-15-97

Subject: HHS launches consumer health information Web site

The Department of Health and Human Services has initiated a new online doctor's office of sorts. It's an Internet clearinghouse of health and medical information put together by HHS and other federal and private agencies.

The intent of "Healthfinder" is to counter what proponents call a enormous amount of misleading and wrong health information already pervading the Internet.

The Web site, found at, provides information on the entire body: "Everything from prevention to the latest clinical trials to support groups to self-appraisals," according to press releases from HHS.

More than 37% of adult Internet users regularly access health information, available on an estimated 10,000 Web sites for consumer health information.

The service will provide online federal health publications or information on how to obtain them. It provides hyperlinks to more than 550 related Web sites, including more than 200 federal sites and 350 state, local, not-for-profit, university and other consumer health sources, according to HHS.

"Healthfinder" was launched by HHS Secretary Donna Shalala at the opening session of the Partnerships for Networked Consumer Health Information '97 Conference in Washington on Tuesday. "We're covering a wide range of information," Shalala said in a statement," and we're providing information that people can trust."

In a videotaped message, Vice President Al Gore said, "We hear a lot about how managed care is changing our health care system. What we don't hear is how the consumers themselves are changing it ... Healthfinder will provide the public with easier access to more quality federal consumer health information than is available now from any single source on the World Wide Web."

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