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LaurusHealth at www.laurushealth.com – LaurusHealth is a comprehensive hub for health information, including health news and information and guides to illnesses and conditions, pharmaceuticals, medical tests, and self-help resources.

WebMD at www.webmd.com – WebMD is one of the largest and most-trusted sources of health information on the Web, with a complete range of services for patients, physicians, insurers and other health care providers. They also provide communications and software to health care providers.

WellMed at www.wellmed.com – WellMed is a personal health management service that gives individuals the information they need to talk to their employers, health insurance companies and physicians.

The Canadian Medicare system is a lot different than the American system, with less of a focus on health insurance, and a single standard of health care that is, in theory, applied universally.

While there isn’t an emphasis on accreditation, the Canadian Medical Association and Health Canada are looked upon as definitive sources of health care information. As such, they have both taken it upon themselves in recent years to punch up the quality and quantity of health information available on the Web.

In Canada, more than 42 per cent of households were hooked up to the Internet, with B.C. and Alberta leading with figures of 50 per cent and 48 per cent.

More than 54 per cent of Canadians used the Internet to access medical and health information, which is more than the number of people who used the Internet to shop for goods and services.

And people are doing more than looking for information. "Through their interactions with the Internet, e-health consumers are starting to demand the same level of service that they can get from other industries," wrote Nancy Gault, a private consultant who was commissioned by Health Canada to study the growth of e-health in Canada. "Some of the features they expect include customization, convenience, information for decision-making and improved quality of service."

According to Gault, of the 54 per cent of Canadian Internet users who sough medical and health information online, 21 per cent reported increased compliance with prescriptions; 30 per cent visited the doctor; 42 per cent made a treatment decision; 43 per cent asked their doctors about a prescription, and 47 per cent urged or took a family member to visit a health care provider.

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