I had a nice discussion today with a few Twitterers including Jay Parkinson about the quality of online medical information. It started when I mentioned many great medical blogs are not accredited by HONcode, the Health On The Net Foundation, which is a non-profit organization with a mission to improve online health information quality. I try to summerize the keypoints of the discussion.
Then I found a publication, Indicators of Accuracy of Consumer Health Information on the Internet that states:
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).
I believe patients seeking medical information online need guidance. Regarding tech blogs or art blogs, it doesn’t really matter who determines quality. But in the medical blogosphere, I think it’s crucial to have a neutral third party that works to assure quality and try to help patients how to find reliable content. So the conclusion is I’ll keep on promoting HONcode and will try to get all of my medical sites accredited (Scienceroll and Webicina are both accredited).