WEB SITES FOR
The Internet has a lot to offer,
but not all sources of consumer health information are reliable,
easy to use, and worth the effort to locate. The following
are points to consider when evaluating Internet sites for
consumer health information:
and Scope of the Site
Who is the
intended audience for the information? This information should
be easy to find either on the site's main page or a link from
the main page. Look for a link that says "About us",
or something similar. It should clearly state that the
site is for consumers, for professionals, or both.
the site content rich or merely a set of links to other sites?
Who selects the content and the links for the site?
is the purpose of the site? Why does the site exist?
the site unique? Does it offer information not available
elsewhere or is it simply a rehash of information easily obtained
from a more authoritative source?
- University of Pennsylvania
Mission statement included and
describes the purpose of the site.
Who is responsible
for the site? Is this information clearly stated on the site's
main page or is there an easy to find link to this information?
given for person(s) in charge of the site? Is the person a
physician, a researcher, or someone with a personal interest
in the topic?
Are sources for this information
clearly stated? References for all material, such as
the author, title, medical journal or book title, and date
should be given to back up facts and figures. Names
and credentials for information specifically written for the
web site should be given.
Is an individual's
name and e-mail address given so that you can ask questions
about the site? If there is, test it to check the site's response
links lead to sources that meet the above criteria for authoritative
- children's health information
- editorial board
Gives credentials of individuals
responsible for content of site.
Is the information
revised and updated regularly? Are individual articles signed
are given, is it clear what the dates mean? Dates can
mean when the information was first written, first included
on the site, or last revised.
links to other sites updated frequently or are there dead
links? More than a few dead links could mean the site
is not well maintained.
Clinic - Addison's disease
- overview of the treatment process - radiation oncology
Shows when article was published
and when it was last reviewed.
arranged logically? Is it easy to determine from the main
page what's available on the site?
If the site
has multiple links or features, is there a site map that lays
out exactly what's included?
Is the entire
site searchable? If the website is large, this is an absolute
a good balance of internal and external links?
Is the site
easy to navigate? Are the function buttons easy to find and
clear about their purpose?
- National Cancer Institute
Well organized website.
Is information about the security
of the site clearly stated? This is especially important
if the site asks you to fill in forms with personal
health information such as your age, medical condition,
drugs for which you would like information.
Is there a clear statement that
personal health information you shared with the site is not
made available to other organizations or companies?
In general, think twice about entering
any personal information on a health site. Security and privacy
policies may be clearly stated but may not be followed.
- privacy statement
Includes a clear statement of
the site's privacy and security policy.
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For more information
on evaluating Internet sites, read what others have to say:
How to evaluate health information on the Internet
: questions and answers from the National Cancer Institute
and the Code of Conduct from the Health
on the Net Foundation
TO "FINDING THE ANSWERS" PAGE