Three Factors to Evaluate the Quality of Medical Websites
- Medical Content (Adherence, Completeness, References, Updating)
- Accountability of the Authors (Indication of the author’s name, author’s c.v. or position, presence of commercial sponsor, certification, nature of the organization )
- Usability of the Web Site (Contacts, Aesthetics , Ease of use, Links )
The web is often used to find medical information. An increasing number of individuals, companies and other stakeholders have their own websites. The content of these websites is largely unregulated and the enquirer has no way of telling whether the information is reliable. This makes it impossible to make an informed decision. The information found can be unreliable, unbalanced, wrong and misleading. For instance this recent post on Respectful Insolence is about an obscure article on a ScienceBlog: Should anything be done about two bad apples of pseudoscience on the tree of ScienceBlogs.de?.
There are several proposals in the literature for assessing the quality of web based information
and assure their quality for non-professional users. In a recent publication a health related Web site evaluation form was tested in an attempt to quantify the quality websites relating to MMR vaccine that a typical searcher might locate. This form helped a lot. It contained several questions about the three characteristics mentioned at the top of this post. This was confirmed in a more recent publication: A quality evaluation methodology of health web-pages
You can find a somewhat larger evaluation form here Netscoring.
But the problem remains that non professionals have difficulty in judging the content of the website. Directories with websites judged by professionals are an important solution to that problem. Since recent their is a new kind on the block called: SearchMedica
SearchMedica is a dedicated medical search engine for healthcare professionals which allows you to search the area of the worldwide web that is of direct relevance to you in your work. You can search the whole web too if you want to but we’ve prepared extensive lists of selected sites in consultation with working healthcare professionals that will help eliminate unwanted and irrelevant results from your searches delivering what you’re looking for more quickly.
This search engine is for professionals according to the about us, but he how do they know who you are?
I tried it ant it is very good. They even received a 2008 WebAward from the Web Marketing Association. SearchMedica was named Best Directory or Search Engine. They have versiuons for 4 countries(US, UK, France, Spain).
Not The Netherlands but than we have medigo