URL of this page: https://medlineplus.gov/webeval/conclusion1.html

Evaluating Internet Health Information Tutorial

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Conclusion—Part 1 of 2

The Internet provides you with immediate access to health information. But you need to distinguish the good sites from the bad.

Let's review the clues to quality by looking at our two fictional Web sites:

The site for the Physicians Academy for Better Health:

  • is run by experts
  • has a clearly stated purpose
  • labels advertising
  • reviews information before posting it
  • explains the sources of data and research
  • is up-to-date
  • and will not share personal information
The example website for Physicians Academy for Better Health has a horizontal menu to navigate the site, sources for content are clearly indicated with links to the sources, advertisement is clearly labeled, and the footer area contains links to About Us page, Privacy Policy page, Site Map page, and an Email Us page.  Also the footer area tells you when the information was last reviewed and contact information.
The example of the Physicians Academy for Better Health home page shows a clearly laid out and important items clearly labeled for you to find the important information you need to decide on the quality of the site.

The site for the Institute for a Healthier Heart:

  • does not explain who is running it
  • may favor its sponsor
  • has an unclear purpose
  • does not label advertising
  • does not describe how information is added
  • does not identify the sources of information
  • does not tell how old the information is
  • and might share your personal information with others
The example of the Institute for a Healthier Heart website has a shopping cart at the top of the page above the horizontal menu for navigation of the site. An ad is not clearly labeled and also in line with the page's content, making it hard to tell it is an ad and not part of the content. A form is very prominent in the lower right corner of the home page asking for personal identifiable information with no indication at that time how your information will be used. While the footer area contains links to further information on the site, there is no indication of how current the information is.
The example of the Institute for a Healthier Heart home page shows that while it appears to be a good site at first, when you start looking further the information you need to verify the quality of the information on the site is not available.
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