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European Association for Health Information and Libraries
Association Européenne pour I'Information et les Bibliothèques de Santé


How to....... assess the quality of a medical website

Luisa Vercellesi

The quality of medical information has always been a major issue; indexing in medical databases and impact factors help us for journals. And databases help in ascertaining books through their authors.

We now use medical websites generally knowing that they are published by known institutions or we retrieve them by "quality" medical engines. But sometimes we simply search the web or customers come to us with their own information.

To assess quality check the following (according to HON):

  • The site provides and hosts medical/health advice: They are given by medical/health professionals. A clear statement (e.g. disclaimer) is made that the advice offered is from a non-medical/health professional organization. No statement regarding authorship Websites
  • The site and its mirrors respect the medical information confidentiality which apply in the country and state of the site and its mirrors.
  • The last modification date of the clinical pages is clearly displayed.
  • The site contains information from other sources: An HTML link is provided to the source data A bibliographic reference to the source data is mentioned No reference to the source data is included
  • The site offers claims relating to the benefits/performance of a specific treatment, commercial product or service: The claims are supported by clear references to scientific research results and/or published articles. The claims are based on personal opinion
  • All the web pages of the site display the contact e-mail address of the infomaster (webmaster) or a link to it: Yes / No, only few pages / No, not any page / No, the site only uses a feedback form.
  • The source of the funding of the site is: Commercial and non-commercial organisations: a clear statement describes it. No funding is provided. The personal/private fund or hosted with no charge: a clear statement mentions it. No funding explanation is provided
  • Pages of the site display advertimement banners: A page provides a brief description of the advertising policy No explanation regarding the banner is given.

Luisa Vercellesi


back to TOC EAHIL Newsletter 47; May 1999


Updated by Webmaster2001-08-07