Medicine by modem

The vast amount of health information on the Internet has created new hope for patients but raised concerns about its validity.

CNET News staff
The Internet is quickly becoming a tool of empowerment for patients and consumers who no longer have to rely solely on a physician's word for information on diagnoses and treatment.

But is all this information accurate? And should people follow the advice of others they have never met who have no formal medical credentials? Even licensed physicians are wary of dispensing advice on the Net when they can't even see the people asking questions.

This NEWS.COM special report takes a sampling of health sites online and examines whether the benefits of such public knowledge outweigh the potential dangers--or vice versa:

Digital diagnosis: Doctors in cyberspace
Losing patients: Turning to Net for answers
Corporate medicine: FDA examines credibility
Secure transactions: Insurance shopping online
The path to wellness: Useful reference sites