Judge: web sites for health

December 28, 2007 0 Comments

There are two levels to ensuring the quality of this medical information.

First level

The use of quality criteria will indicate to people that the information is likely to be reliable. Include these details with each piece of medical information:

  • the name of the author, with the reasons why people should trust what they have written, for example, their job title, place of work, formal qualifications;
  • any potential conflicts of interest, for example, the researcher is funded by a pharmaceutical company;
  • the date the information was written, with an update or review date: (a) some information, like the description of a disease, does not change very much. However it should be reviewed on a regular basis, for example, yearly, to check that it is still correct;
  • the sources of the information the author used to write their section, for example: (a) references to the literature; (b) links to other Web sites, including the date they were accessed to obtain information; (c) statements about their knowledge and experience;
  • contact details so people can check up on the information and query it;
  • links to related resources so people can read other opinions and look at other research.

Include a page on the site where you describe any quality checks or editorial processes that medical information goes through before it is placed on your site.

Second level

This is a detailed assessment of the correctness of the information. It requires a health professional or a lay-expert.

A lay-expert is a member of the public, often a patient or a carer, who has spent a lot of time reading and learning about a specific medical condition. They can know as much about this small area of medicine as some health professionals.

  • Set up an Advisory Medical Panel.
  • Ask medical experts to write material for your site.
  • Develop lay-expertise.

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