Tools to Evaluate the Quality of Web Health Information: A Structured Review of Content and Usability

By Lubna Daraz, Joy C MacDermid, Seanne Wilkins and Lynn Shaw.

Published by The Technology Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Web health information resources have the potential to educate and empower consumers, by providing information on the nature of their health problems. However, poor quality information may have detrimental effects on health as consumers typically do not have clinical training and may not be able to judge the quality of web health information resources. A variety of tools and resources are available to help consumers’ access websites with good quality information, but there is a lack of evidence of their usefulness for general consumer use. The purpose of this review was to critically appraise existing web health evaluation tools to assess their content and to recommend a tool that is best suited for general consumer use.

The structured review confirmed that the existing web health evaluation tools do not meet the criteria for readability and ease of use for general consumers. A customized tool/quality checklist that was designed for general consumer use was based on the core consensus criteria. This tool is recommended to support consumers in their use of quality web-based health information.

Keywords: Consumer Health Informatics, World Wide Web, Quality, Health Information, Evaluation, Tools

The International Journal of Technology, Knowledge and Society, Volume 5, Issue 3, pp.127-142. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.193MB).

Lubna Daraz

PhD Candidate, School of Rehabilitation Science, Faculty of Health Sciences, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada

PhD Candidate at the School of Rehabilitation Science, Faculty of Health Sciences, McMaster University, Canada. Previous graduate training was in Master’s in Information Studies at the Faculty of Information, University of Toronto, Canada. Her research focuses on the information access, use, needs and preferences of women living with chronic pain. The author is also a Strategic Training Fellow in Rehabilitation Research at the CIHR Institute of Musculoskeletal Health and Arthritis.

Joy C MacDermid

Associate Professor, Faculty of Health Sciences, School of Rehabilitation Science, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada

A physical therapist, hand therapist, epidemiologist and an associate professor at the School of Rehabilitation Science at McMaster University. She holds a Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) New Investigator Award. She is also Co-director of the Clinical Research Lab within the Hand and Upper Limb Centre (HULC). She is cross-appointed to Departments of Surgery and Epidemiology at both McMaster University and the University of Western Ontario.

Seanne Wilkins

Associate Professor, Faculty of Health Sciences, School of Rehabilitation Science, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada

An occupational therapist with graduate education in community health and social gerontology. She is an associate professor in the School of Rehabilitation Science at McMaster University. Her teaching in the rehabilitation science program focuses on qualitative analysis and in the occupational therapy program focuses on aging and health as well as adult physical health.

Lynn Shaw

Assistant Professor, School of Occupational Therapy. Faculty of Health Science., The University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada

Lynn Shaw is an occupational therapist. Her interest in occupational health and safety expanded in the area of health care services, through her roles as director of health and safety at the London Health Sciences Centre and Manager of National Occupational Health Services for ComCare Health Services. She obtained her BSc OT in 1984 and an MSc in 1997 from The University of Western Ontario and a PhD in Rehabilitation Sciences at Western in 2005. Currently, Lynn is an assistant professor in the School of Occupational Therapy at The University of Western Ontario. She is also a research advisor for Workright Inc., and a National research advisor to the Canadian Injured Workers Alliance.

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