Reliability and Evaluation of Health Information Online

Reliability and Evaluation of Health Information Online

Elmer V. Bernstam (University of Texas, Health Science Center at Houston, USA) and Funda Meric-Bernstam (University of Texas, M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-050-9.ch154
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This chapter discusses the problem of how to evaluate online health information. The quality and accuracy of online health information is an area of increasing concern for healthcare professionals and the general public. We define relevant concepts including quality, accuracy, utility, and popularity. Most users access online health information via general-purpose search engines, therefore we briefly review Web searchengine fundamentals. We discuss desirable characteristics for quality-assessment tools and the available evidence regarding their effectiveness and usability. We conclude with advice for healthcare consumers as they search for health information online.

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