Evaluating Consumer Health Websites

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  • 1. Finding Reliable HealthInformation on the InternetChristine Caufield-Noll, MLIS, AHIPCommunity Health LibraryJohns Hopkins Bayview Medical CenterSummer 2012

2. Objective and Goals Objective to help you be an informed partner in yourhealth care Goals you will understand how to evaluate ahealth website you will learn how to use MedlinePlus.gov fordisease, drug, and directory information you will be aware of other reliable drugwebsites on the Internet 3. Did you know? A Pew Internet survey reported that 57% ofAmerican adults use the Internet to findhealthcare information The most commonly-researched topics arespecific diseases or conditions; treatments orprocedures; and doctors or other healthprofessionals. A typical search for health information is onbehalf of someone else information access byproxySource: http://www.pewinternet.org/Commentary/2011/November/Pew-Internet-Health.aspx 4. About the Internet No one is in charge There are few rules and regulations Anyone can build a website No educational or professional qualifications are necessary Therefore, you cannot automatically trust information found on the WebFrom: Internet Power Searching: The advanced manual,Phil Bradley, Neal-Schuman Publishers 5. Remember the ABCs of evaluationAccuracyAuthorityBiasCurrencyComprehension 6. Remember the ABCs of evaluation Accuracy Does the site provide references to scientific literature? (popular media doesnt count) Authority Is the information from a credible source? (check the About Us section and the sites domain) Bias Who pays for the site? Are ads/sponsored content clearly labeled? 7. Remember the ABCs of evaluation Currency Are there dates on the material? (under 5 yrs) Comprehension Is the information understandable and the site easy to navigate? 8. Warning Watch out for sites like WebMD.com Gerd.com DrKoop.com These sites and other like them may havesome reliable information, but their maingoal is not to educate the user but togenerate money 9. But how can I tell if a health website is reliable or not? 10. Example website evaluation Mayo Clinics Healthy Aging center http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/healthy-aging/MY00374 This site is in the top results for a Googlesearch of senior health Lets check it out using our ABCs ofevaluation criteria 11. Ads byGoogle 12. Our mission is to empower peopleto manage their health. Weaccomplish this by providing usefuland up-to-date information andtools that reflect theexpertise and standard ofexcellence of Mayo Clinic. 13. The senior medical editors areexperienced Mayo Clinicclinicians and educatorsTheywork on a daily basis with Webcontent producers and editors toensure that all content isaccurate, clear and relevant.Specialty medical editorsworkwith our editorial staff to bring youtimely, relevant and accurateinformation and tools. 14. MayoClinic.com maintains adistinct separation betweenadvertising content and editorialcontent. All advertising content onMayoClinic.comis clearlylabeled as an advertisement.Sponsored areas of the site arelabeled as such, and thesponsoring organizations areidentified. 15. Thank you!Please call Christine at410-550-0681 or email herat ccaufie1@jhmi.eduif you have any questions