• Indicators of Accuracy of Consumer Health Information on the Internet

      Fallis, Don; Fricke, Martin; Miller, Randolph (American Medical Informatics Association, 2002)
      Objectives: To identify indicators of accuracy for consumer health information on the Internet. The results will help lay people distinguish accurate from inaccurate health information on the Internet. Design: Several popular search engines (Yahoo, AltaVista, and Google) were used to find Web pages on the treatment of fever in children. The accuracy and completeness of these Web pages was determined by comparing their content with that of an instrument developed from authoritative sources on treating fever in children. The presence on these Web pages of a number of proposed indicators of accuracy, taken from published guidelines for evaluating the quality of health information on the Internet, was noted. Main Outcome Measures: Correlation between the accuracy of Web pages on treating fever in children and the presence of proposed indicators of accuracy on these pages. Likelihood ratios for the presence (and absence) of these proposed indicators. Results: One hundred Web pages were identified and characterized as "more accurate" or "less accurate." Three indicators correlated with accuracy: displaying the HONcode logo, having an organization domain, and displaying a copyright. Many proposed indicators taken from published guidelines did not correlate with accuracy (e.g., the author being identified and the author having medical credentials) or inaccuracy (e.g., lack of currency and advertising). Conclusions: This method provides a systematic way of identifying indicators that are correlated with the accuracy (or inaccuracy) of health information on the Internet. Three such indicators have been identified in this study. Identifying such indicators and informing the providers and consumers of health information about them would be valuable for public health care.