Can you trust it?
Who wrote it?
- What are the qualifications of the writers?
- Who publishes the content?
- TIP: Check the ‘About us’ page.
- TIP: Look for .gov or .edu sites.
Is it up to date?
- When was it written?
- When was it last reviewed?
- TIP: Look for this information at the bottom of each page.
Is it accurate?
- Is the information based on research?
- Are information sources provided?
- TIP: Look for HoNCode certification – a global standard for quality and transparent health information online.
- TIP: Look for references at the end of the page.
Is it balanced?
- Are risks and benefits explained?
- Is the website selling something?
- Is there advertising on the site?
- TIP: Commercial interests can mean the information is biased.
- TIP: Beware of testimonials – they often make untested claims.
Is it right for you?
Is it clear?
- Is the information easy to find and understand?
- Are images or video used to help explain the text?
- TIP: Browse the site or use any available search features.
Is your privacy respected?
- If the site collects personal information, is it secure and private?
- What will your personal information be used for?
- Compare different sources.
- Look for clues about the quality of information.
- Think for yourself.
What to do?
- visit a pharmacy
- see your doctor
- call triple zero (000).
- Healthy web surfing – www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/healthywebsurfing.html
- Tutorial: Evaluating health information – www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/evaluatinghealthinformation.html
- Content quality guidelines – www.healthfinder.gov/aboutus/content_guidelines.aspx
- Staying safe online – www.nhs.uk/aboutNHSChoices/aboutnhschoices/staying-safe-online/Pages/find-health-information-online.aspx
- Health On the Net Foundation – www.hon.ch/HONcode/Conduct.html
- NHCCN Ultrafeedback survey, August 2011
Last reviewed: April 2016