“At HON, we work to develop realistic and applicable solutions related to our mission: “to promote the effective and reliable use of the new technologies for…””.1

Umbrella
What may the Health Information Evaluation on the World Wide Web Umbrella include?

Depending on the Source (DotS) this Umbrella may include:

  • HONcode
  • Health Information on the Internet/Web/World Wide Web
  • Health On the Net
  • Internet Health Information
  • Online Health Information
  • Web Surfing

Internet

What may it be important to note about information on the World Wide Web (WWW)?

On page two in Health and Medic@l Information on the Internet: Ask Your Doctor for Advice the (International) Health On the Net Foundation (HON) elaborate on:

Health Information Evaluation on the World Wide Web

“Do not buy drugs over the Internet and do not base your medical decisions solely on information found on the Internet”.2

HON

What is Health On The Net (HON)?

In About Health On The Net: What We Do the HON Foundation explain:

“At HON, we work to develop realistic and applicable solutions related to our mission: “to promote the effective and reliable use of the new technologies for telemedicine in healthcare around the world.” Over the past two decades, we have identified two main challenges for which we develop schemes, conduct research activities to use on pragmatic and concrete services, and collaborate with other entities on multiple projects:

HONcode Seal

What is the HONcode seal?

On page two in Health and Medic@l Information on the Internet: Look for the HONcode Seal the HON explain:

“When the seal is present on a health or medical website, this means that it meets specific standards for ethics and transparency”.4

Meno Martha International Menopause Directory

This website is certified by Health On the Net Foundation. Click to verify.Is Meno Martha International Menopause Directory in compliance with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information?

Yes. Meno Martha International Menopause Directory is in compliance with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information: verify here.

About Us

What is the first thing to do when reading a medical site?

In The Smart Searcher: A Guide To Online Medical Advice the American Heart Association (AHA) explain:

“The first thing to do when reading a medical site is to know your source. There should be an “About Us” tag that tells you who maintains the site and why. If this section is missing, or if the site seems focused on selling something, look elsewhere or proceed with skepticism”.5

In The Smart Searcher: A Guide To Online Medical Advice – Who Can You Trust? the AHA also note:

“The most reliable sources include accredited medical schools, university teaching hospitals and reputable nonprofit organizations such as the American Heart Association. These sites (which end in .edu and .org) provide health information and libraries. Government sources such as the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Department of Health and Human Services are also reliable. (These sites end in .gov)”.6

Evaluation

What criteria may be used to evaluate health information on the WWW?

In Using Trusted Resources: Websites the (United States) National Cancer Institute elaborate on:

“Online sources of health information should make it easy for people to learn who is responsible for posting the information. They should make clear the original source of the information, along with the medical credentials of the people who prepare or review the posted material. Use the following questions to determine the credibility of health information published online.

  • Who manages this information?…
  • What are the letters at the end of the web address?…
  • Who is paying for the project, and what is their purpose?…
  • What is the original source of the information that they have posted?…
  • How is information reviewed before it gets posted?…
  • How current is the information?..?
  • If they are asking for personal information, how will they use that information and how will they protect your privacy?…”.7

Health Information Evaluation on the World Wide WebIn Making Decisions About Your Health: Internet Health Information – Website Reliability Checker the (Australian) Jean Hailes for Women’s Health (JH) elaborate on:

“To assess which organisations and websites offer more reliable information, you can check a website against the following criteria:

  • Who owns the website?…
  • Why has the website been created?…
  • How easy is it to understand the information?…
  • Is the information up to date?…
  • How reputable is the source of information?…*
  • Is the information supported by evidence-based practice?…
*The HONcode is a code of ethics used by a website to provide the public with quality, objective and transparent medical information. It is overseen internationally by the Swiss not-for-profit organisation, Health on the Net Foundation (HON)”.8

Health Information Evaluation on the World Wide WebIn Dr. Google: Dangers of Health Information From the Net the author elaborates on:

“How can consumers without a medical background separate high-quality information from anecdotal experience or marketing efforts? Using the web to obtain health information can be effective for many users, but there is no gold standard for search engines or websites. Here are some helpful “Do’s” and “Don’ts” when looking for healthcare information: Do’s

  • Use government websites (ie, cdc.gov; nih.gov; medlineplus.gov)
  • Use trustworthy healthcare websites such as menopause.org
  • Use academic institution websites (ie, mayoclinic.org)
  • Consider WebMD.com
  • Visit websites of products approved by the Food and Drug Administration that also may provide discount coupons
  • Check with your healthcare provider before following online medical advice
  • Use common sense…”.9

Health Care Provider

What if I would like to find out what health information on the WWW is applicable to me?

If you would like to find out what health information on the WWW is applicable to you, it may be in your best interest to choose to talk to your health care provider about this.

On page two in Health and Medic@l Information on the Internet: Ask Your Doctor for Advice the HON explain:

“Before changing your strategy for care, talk to your doctor. Visiting a website or obtaining information online does not replace a doctor’s visit”.10

The JH also note:

“The internet is a great source of information to help you manage or research a condition or treatment, but it is not reliable for self-diagnosis or self-treatment of a health problem. If you have symptoms that worry you, if you are not sure about the reliability of the information you have found on the internet or if you find medical information you think is relevant to you, seek advice from your doctor”.11

Health Topics A-Z

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Links

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Sources

Where may I find the Sources quoted?

You may find the Sources quoted at:

Sources

  1. About Health On the Net: What We Do. Health On the Net Foundation https://www.hon.ch/en/about.html Accessed: 29 June 2020
  2. Health and Medic@l Information on the Internet: Ask Your Doctor for Advice. Page 2. Health On the Net Foundation https://www.hon.ch/Global/doc/HON-depliant-patient_en.pdf Accessed: 29 June 2020
  3. About Health On the Net: What We Do. Health On the Net Foundation https://www.hon.ch/en/about.html Accessed: 29 June 2020
  4. Health and Medic@l Information on the Internet: Look for the HONcode Seal. Page 2. Health On the Net Foundation https://www.hon.ch/Global/doc/HON-depliant-patient_en.pdf Accessed: 29 June 2020
  5. The Smart Searcher: A Guide To Online Medical Advice. American Heart Association https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/consumer-healthcare/doctor-appointments-questions-to-ask-your-doctor/the-smart-searcher-a-guide-to-online-medical-advice Accessed: 29 June 2020
  6. The Smart Searcher: A Guide To Online Medical Advice – Who Can You Trust? American Heart Association https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/consumer-healthcare/doctor-appointments-questions-to-ask-your-doctor/the-smart-searcher-a-guide-to-online-medical-advice Accessed: 29 June 2020
  7. Using Trusted Resources: Websites. Updated: 16 March 2020. National Cancer Institute https://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/cancerlibrary/health-info-online Accessed: 29 June 2020
  8. Making Decisions About Your Health: Internet Health Information – Website Reliability Checker. Last Updated: 15 January 2020 | Last Reviewed: 11 October 2018. Jean Hailes for Women’s Health https://jeanhailes.org.au/health-a-z/health-checks/making-decisions-about-your-health/ Accessed: 29 June 2020
  9. Liu, J. Dr. Google: Dangers of Health Information From the Web. 12 March 2018. https://www.menopause.org/for-women/menopause-take-time-to-think-about-it/consumers/2018/03/12/dr.-google-dangers-of-health-advice-from-the-web Accessed: 29 June 2020
  10. Health and Medic@l Information on the Internet: Ask Your Doctor for Advice. Page 2. Health On the Net https://www.hon.ch/Global/doc/HON-depliant-patient_en.pdf Accessed: 29 June 2020
  11. Making Decisions About Your Health: Internet Health Information – Ask Your Doctor. Last Updated: 15 January 2020 | Last Reviewed: 11 October 2018. Jean Hailes for Women’s Health https://jeanhailes.org.au/health-a-z/health-checks/making-decisions-about-your-health/ Accessed: 29 June 2020
Topic Last Updated: 29 June 2020 – Topic Last Reviewed: 29 June 2020
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