Resources Developed by Healthcare Professionals and Other Trusted Sources

AND OTHER TRUSTED SOURCES__________________________

Consumers taking care of themselves are generally information seekers, and they may be working either without a physician or in direct opposition to the advice of the physician. For this reason, physicians for a long time have worried a great deal about the health information their patients were getting, and from where they got it. Today, healthcare professional associations are beginning to publish guidelines for their members to use in educating patients and consumers about information evaluation online (see Table 5.5 for examples). So do non-profit research and advocacy organizations in diagnosis-specific areas, such as cancer, and institutions that produce professionals, such as Harvard’s School of Public Health. Increased public interest in genetics and genetic testing prompted the National Human Genome Research Institute, one of the National Institutes of Health, to produce its own guidelines. Cancer Research UK launched its Science Blog to publicize

Does it describe how the treatment choices affect overall quality of life? Is it clear that there may be more than one possible treatment choice? Does it provide support for shared decisionmaking?

[Does the site] give qualifications of authors?

[Does the site intend] information to support, not replace [a physician]

[Does the site] respect the privacy of site users?

[Does the site] provide valid contact details?

[Does the site] clearly distinguish advertising from editorial content?

Do experts review the information that goes on the site?

Does the site ask for your personal information?

Can you contact [the provider of the website]?

Does the site have advertisements? Are they labeled?

Who is in charge of the website?

How is the content selected?

Does the site avoid unbelievable or emotional claims?

Is it up-to-date?

Are you comfortable with how [personal information] will be used?

TABLE 5.5 Health Information Evaluation Guidelines: From Healthcare Association and Research/ Advocacy Organizations




American Academy of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck



How to Find Reliable ENT Info

American Academy of Family

Health Information on the Web:





Finding Reliable Information

The American Cancer Society




Cancer Information on the Internet

T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Harvard University nutritionsource/media/

Diet in the News: Who to Believe?

National Human Genome Research

How to Find Reliable Health

Institute, National Institutes of Health






National Center for

Know the Science: The Facts About

Complementary and Integrative Health, National Institutes of Health



Health News Stories

Federal Trade Commission articles/0167-miracle-health-claims

Miracle Health Claims

Genetic Alliance

Trust It or Trash It?

National Cancer Institute about-cancer/managing-care/


Using Trusted Resources

National Institutes of Health




Checking the Symptom Checkers

cancer research, but also to “debunk myths and media scares” (Abdel-Wahab et al., 2019). AHRQ, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, is a federal agency tasked with producing evidence of healthcare effectiveness. AHRQ considers website evaluation part of patient education and bundles it into its Health Literacy Universal Precautions Toolkit (Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, 2015).

Some of the resources listed in Table 5.5 focus on problems with health news, which is a common source of health information for the general consumer. However, the Federal Trade Commission is just as concerned about consumer fraud and health-related products.

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