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Quality Checklist for Internet-based Health Information

Efforts to better assess the quality of health information on the Internet continue. An increasing body of literature now exists that present quality rating instruments. By 2005, Bernstam EV et al report a total of 273 distinct instruments, with 80 providing evaluation criteria. The Health Sciences Library (HSL) of New York Medical College checklist below includes the basic elements common to all with the Health Summit Working Group policy paper at the core. It is intended to serve as a basic guide or template for students, faculty, researchers or public health professionals when viewing or evaluating specific Internet sites. The IQ tool also provides a structured way to test individual sites.

 
Basic Criteria
Authorship/sponsorship or developers
  Authority of source explicit; bias or balance points of view clear
Credibility, context or setting
Content
Information quality and accuracy, source of knowledge/expertise, level or hierarchy of evidence, stated criteria for inclusion
Currency
Content dated, frequency of update and maintenance of the site

Disclosure

Nature of sponsorship, authorship, and potential conflicts of interest clear
Audience
Organization, design and instructions reflect the targeted audience in terms of reading level, language, use of images, etc.
Accessibility, design and ease of use
Logical organization, can be used by the lowest common denominator of current browser technology, plug-ins where appropriate and  an internal search engine

The Medical Library Association Consumer and Patient Health Information Section maintains a list of "Websites You Can Trust" that have been reviewed by experts using the following criteria: credibility, sponsorship/authorship, content, audience, currency, disclosure, purpose, links, design, interactivity and disclaimers.
 
Comments regarding this list and/or page may be directed to Diana Cunningham at Diana_Cunningham@nymc.edu.
Updated 8/24/07, D. Cunningham
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