Tips for Finding Reliable Information on the Internet
of information creates valuable access for consumers, there are many
sites that abuse this freedom and post false and inaccurate
information, according to Dr. John Renner, chief medical officer of
HealthSCOUT and director of the National Council for Reliable Health
"Many of the
sites might look good," Renner commented, "but so goes a mirage in the
desert. You have to know how to navigate around the quackery and
questionable claims of cures."
Renner offers the following five key criteria for evaluating Web sites:
High technical quality: There are appropriate graphics; internal searches are available; no special browser is needed.
Quality Content: Information is accurate, timely, and non-biased.
Credible sources: No unsubstantiated claims are made; basic science logic is sound; it doesn't tell consumers to distrust all doctors.
Usefulness for all audiences: Patients
will be better able to ask physicians questions; Information is useful
for the physician, as well as the patient; information helps satisfy
economic, political, public health or policy questions.
Linkages to other Web pages are handled well: Links are accurate, active, organized and not overly commercial.
Renner also writes a weekly review of medical and health Internet sites called "Stars and Stinkers." You can check it out at www.healthacout.com.