Presentation on theme: "Terri Ottosen, MLIS, AHIP Consumer Health Coordinator"— Presentation transcript:
1 From Snake Oil to Penicillin: Evaluating Consumer Health on the Internet Terri Ottosen, MLIS, AHIPConsumer Health CoordinatorNational Network of Libraries of Medicine,Southeastern Atlantic Region
2 Objective At the end of this workshop, you will be able to: Determine the accuracy, authority, bias, currency, and coverage of health information and its appropriate use as a consumer health information resource for the public.
3 Pretest Please answer True or False for each statement: All health information on the web is accurate and reliableReference librarians can provide advice about health informationAbout half of Internet health seekers check the source and timeliness of information every time they search for health information
4 The issue Increased number of: Patients accessing information on the InternetHealth-related websitesPatients believe the web is a reliable source of informationThe results of one study was published in JAMA(JAMA May 23-30; 285(20): )
5 Types of Websites What is the purpose of the web page? Advocacy (American Heart Association)Business/marketing (Pfizer)Informational (National Center for Health Statistics)News (CNN)Entertainment (Official Star Wars Fan Club)
6 5 Basic Criteria Accuracy Authority Bias Currency Coverage Each of these alone is meaningless, but together create solid guidelines for evaluation
7 Accuracy Is the information accurate? Remember: Anyone can publish on the webMany web pages are not reviewed or verified by editors or peersWeb standards to ensure accuracy don’t exist
9 Authority Is the author an authority on the subject? Remember: It is often difficult to determine the authorship of web pagesIf a name is listed, his/her qualifications are frequently absentCheck if the web page has the backing of a well-established organization, institution or agency
10 The URL The Tilde The Domain ~The Domain.com, .org, .eduContact informationAbout us
12 BiasDoes the author bring any biases in posting this information? Remember:Web pages are often “soapboxes”Goals of the author aren’t clearly statedWatch out for the emotional “kick”Photographs, exclamation points, huge fonts
14 Currency Is the information current and timely? Remember: Dates are not always includedIf dates are included, it may not be clear if the date is the date created, the date revised, or the date the page was placed on the Web
16 CoverageMany health sites are not comprehensive. The information may be accurate but important information may be left out. Remember:How does this information compare with other sources on the same topic?Is a better source available?Does the site have a disclaimer?
18 Additional Resources http://www.quackwatch.com Site developed by a psychiatristAuthor is admittedly anti-alternative, anti-complementary medicineSite can be used to gather background information on questionable treatments
19 Additional Resources (pt.2) Click on health topics, select health fraud
20 Post-test Please answer true or false for each statement: All health information on the web is accurate and reliableReference librarians can provide advice about health informationAbout half of Internet health seekers check the source and timeliness of information every time they search for health information