Health Information on the Internet
If you do choose to get health information from the Internet, keep in mind that anyone can create a website and offer advice on a topic, even if it is not their area of expertise.
Here are some tips on judging whether the information is reliable:
Is the source credible?
. Is the author's name clearly stated?
. If the author is identified, is he or she a professional or authority on the subject?
. If an organization is responsible for the information, is it a reputable organization recognized as an authority on the subject?
. Is the source of all data clearly referenced?
Is the content relevant?
. Does it discuss the issue you are interested in?
. Is the information presented within a Canadian context?
. Is the information reviewed and/or updated often enough given the content?
Is the website's purpose clear?
. Is the author's interest in sharing information clear? For example, is the site promoting healthy living or is it trying to sell you something?)
. Are both, or all, sides of the issue presented?
. If the site collects or requests information about you, do they tell you exactly why they want this information?
. If you have to register to use the site, is the reason clear and your privacy ensured?
Are there clear caution statements?
. Does the site offer a clear statement that health information should not be taken as health advice or a substitute for visiting a health care professional?
. If there are fees associated with the use of the site, are they clearly explained?
Is the site user-friendly?
. Is the information presented in a clear manner?
. Can you contact the author/administrator by email if you have difficulties using the site?
Adapted from: Canadian Health Network http://www.canadian-health-network.ca
and HON Code of Conduct http://www.hon.ch/HONcode/Conduct.html