Quality of Health Information on the Internet

Quality of Health Information on the Internet

Kleopatra Alamantariotou (City University London, UK)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-988-5.ch014
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Recent statistics show that the World Wide Web has now grown to over 100 million sites: a phenomenal expansion in only 15 years (Mulligan 2007). It has been estimated that there are 100,000 sites offering health related information (Wilson 2002). As the amount of health information increases, the public find it increasingly difficult to decide what to accept and what to reject (Burgess 2007). Searching for information on the internet is both deceptively easy and the same time frustratingly difficult (Kiley 2002). The challenge for consumers is to find high quality, relevant information as quickly as possible. There has been ongoing debate about the quality of information aimed at patients and the general public and opinions differ on how it can be improved (Stepperd 1999). The purpose of this chapter is to provide a brief overview of the different perspectives on information quality and to review the main criteria for assessing the quality of health information on the internet. Pointers are provided to enable both clinicians and patients find high quality information sources. An understanding of these issues should help health professionals and patients to make effective use of the internet.

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