Assessing the Quality and Reliability of Medical Information on the Internet

The Problem

According to the Interactive Services Association, an estimated 58 million adults in the United States and Canada are using the Internet. Consumers are accessing a great amount of information from web sites. Clinicians and health educators are continuously looking for new methods of educating their clientele. In the past, personal counseling, videos, books, and brochures were the patient education methods available. Since the mid-1990s, consumers have referred to the World Wide Web to learn how they can improve their health, prevent disease, and learn details about specific diseases. Unfortunately, there is no formal process of editing or evaluating web sites before being released to the public. Anyone can post information on the Internet regardless of their qualifications, professional stature, or intention. The quality of that information has become a critical issue.

Assessing, Controlling, and Assuring the Quality of Medical Information on the Internet Caveat Lector et Viewor&emdash;Let the Reader and Viewer Beware

Commentary: Measuring quality and impact of the world wide web, Jeremy C Wyatt

Impicciatore P, Pandolfini C, Casella N, Bonati M. Reliability of health information for the public on the world wide web: systematic survey of advice on managing fever in children at home. BMJ 1997;314:1875-9.

Criteria for Assessing the Quality of Health Information on the Internet

Health-Related Web Site Evaluation Form

How to Evaluate Medical Information Found on the Internet

Health On the Net Foundation Code of Conduct for Medical and Health Web Sites

Mental Health Network- Web Resource Rating

About We Site Ratings:Tufts University Nutrition Navigator