“Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint.”
~ Mark Twain
This guide offers some tips on how to critically evaluate web sites claiming to offer consumer health information. See the main Patient Education tab for some reliable resources.
The Health On the Net Foundation (HON) promotes and guides the deployment of useful and reliable online health information. The HON Foundation established a voluntary code of ethical conduct, the HONcode, which specifies eight principles intended to hold website developers to basic ethical standards and to make sure consumers always know the source and purpose of the data they are reading.
Read their evaluation guide to see how they assess and issue HONcode certifications. Look for the logo on websites you visit to help assess their validity.
Determine the purpose of the page
Assess the Accuracy
Should present factual information based on medical research, not opinion.
Consider the source
Check the Currency
Review the Coverage
Protect your privacy
Look for quality
Be a cyberskeptic
Always consult with your health professional
Adapted from the MedlinePlus Guide to Healthy Web Surfing