Health websites and reliability components
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One of the factors that have contributed to the explosive popularity of the World Wide Web (WWW) is the ease with which almost anyone can become a web publisher. It has been estimated that 30 million new websites are created every day on the WWW, with a vast majority of these being health related. It is further asserted that there is a healthy dose of cynicism when it comes to the quality and reliability of information pertaining to online health information. Consequently, a user's lack of trust still constitutes a major psychological barrier to the adoption of new forms of online services and health information. Hence, a critical challenge facing the health profession is how to develop an online presence that is not only compelling to the user, but also establishes trust. Furthermore, active health information seekers evaluate the trustworthiness of a web provider when they first interact with the website's interface. From such concerns, this paper will present specific criteria that can be used to determine the level of reliability presented throughout a health website. A thorough search of the WWW, presented 29 published rating tools and 100 journal articles that identified explicit criteria for evaluating the reliability of health websites. From such a collective approach, this paper presents the common eight reliability criteria as being, 1) Authority, 2) Accuracy, 3) Objectivity, 4) Currency, 5) Intended Audience, 6) Coverage, 7) Confidentiality, and 8) Justifiability. Throughout this paper, specific screen captures and elaborations will be directed towards demonstrating an illustrative presentation of these reliability components to current health websites.
ACHPER Healthy Lifestyles Journal
Copyright 2008 ACHPER. The attached file is reproduced here in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. Please refer to the journal's website for access to the definitive, published version.
Educational Technology and Computing