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Estimating the Proportion of Health-Related Websites Disclosing Information That Can Be Used to Assess Their Quality

Final Report - May 30, 2006


Appendix B
Websites Evaluation Revised Protocol



ODPHP WEBSITES EVALUATION PROTOCOL

Website Name:
Website Home Page URL:
Type of site:
Date Accessed:
Rater:
Coding Start Time:
Coding End Time:

I. IDENTITY

  1. Does the website identify by name the person or organization responsible for the website, within 2 clicks of the homepage?

    __ Yes

    __ No

    Explanation: This is intended to refer to the individual, business, corporation, association, coalition, or group that the user would identify as the website sponsor. Note that responsible entity is distinct from the webmaster or other contractor to whom day-to-day website functions may have been delegated.
     
  2. Does the website provide the following contact information for the person or organization responsible for the website, within 2 clicks of the homepage?

    __ Street address

    __ Other mailing address (e.g. post office box, mailstop)

    __ Telephone number

    __ E-mail address
     
  3. Does the website provide the following information on sources of funding for the website, within 2 clicks of the homepage?

    __ Includes explicit statement about sources of funding for website

    __ Names individual or organizational sponsors, donors, or financial partners for website

    Explanation: Note that this refers to funding for the website, not for the sponsoring organization. This information may be found in an advertising or sponsorship policy.

II. PURPOSE

  1. Does the website provide information about the purpose or mission of the website, within 2 clicks of the homepage?

    __ Yes

    __ No

    Explanation: Note that this refers to the purpose or mission of the website, and not of the sponsoring organization. It may include a statement of purpose or a description of services provided to website users such as health information, discussion groups or forums, advice from professionals, support for health services, tools for self management, or the sale of products or services.
     
  2. Does the website describe appropriate uses and limitations of the services it provides, within 2 clicks of the homepage?

    __ Yes

    __ No

    Explanation: This may include terms and conditions regarding the provision of services, statements that advice or information is not intended to replace the evaluation of a health care professional, statements about the rights and responsibilities of users or chat room participants, or other disclaimers.
     
  3. Does the website include a statement regarding its association with commercial products or services, within 2 clicks of the homepage?

    __ Yes

    __ No

    Explanation: This may include a statement that the website has no financial interest or association with any product or service mentioned; a statement disclosing a financial interest or association with a product or service mentioned; or a statement that it endorses no product or service mentioned on the website.

III. CONTENT DEVELOPMENT/EDITORIAL POLICY

  1. Does the website clearly differentiate between advertising and non-advertising content?

    __ Yes

    __ No

    Explanation: Look at advertising on the home page and on at least 2 links from the homepage. Advertising, including sponsored health content, should be clearly distinguished from non-advertising content using identifying words, design, or placement. Answer "yes" to this question only if all advertisements found are clearly marked. "Not applicable" should be selected ONLY if no advertising is found on the site.

  2. Does the website describe how is oversees its health content in the following ways, within 2 clicks of the homepage?

    __ Describes its editorial or medical review process

    Explanation: Note that this should include a description of the process, and not just a statement that content is reviewed.

    __ Provides names and credentials of medical/scientific editors, reviewers, or advisors

    Explanation: Credentials may include degrees, licensure, titles, academic or clinical affiliations, or areas of professional expertise. If the website provides the names and credentials of medial/scientific advisors, it must clearly state that these advisors oversee health content.

    __ Describes its policy for keeping health content current

    Explanation: Note that this should include a description of the policy, and not just a statement that content is kept current.

    __ Describes other quality oversight practices (explain in comments)
     
  3. Does the website disclose the author of this health-related content in the following ways, within 1 click of health content?1

    __ States that the content is supplied by the website's sponsoring organization or staff

    __ States the name of an organization other than the website sponsor as supplying the content

    __ Identifies individual authors of content by name

    Explanation: When the health content is a .pdf file, it should be considered a stand-alone document. Look for the disclosure items only on the .pdf file. Document the page number where the disclosure item was found.

IV. PRIVACY AND CONFIDENTIALITY

  1. Does the website describe its privacy policy, within 2 clicks of the homepage?

    __ Yes

    __ No
     
  2. Does the site explain how users' personal information is protected, within 2 clicks of the homepage?

    __ Yes

    __ No

    Explanation: "Personal information" may include e-mail addresses or e-mail exchanges, personal health information, or information derived through the use of passive tracking mechanisms ("cookies").

V. USER FEEDBACK

  1. Does the website provide the following specific mechanisms for user feedback about the website, within 2 clicks of the homepage?

    __ Feedback form

    Explanation: Feedback form refers to a form that is clearly marked as a means for submitting comments or questions about the website.

    __ Pop-up user survey

    __ E-mail address

    __ Other feedback mechanism (explain in comments)
     

  2. Does the website describe how it uses information from users to improve its services or operations, within 2 clicks of the homepage?

    __ Yes

    __ No

VI. CONTENT UPDATING2

  1. Does this page of health content display the date this content was created?

    __ Yes

    __ No

    Explanation: The date may be indicated as a year, month and year, or month, day, and year. This question DOES NOT refer to copyright date. If there is a date listed with no other explanation, count this as the date created.
     
  2. Does this page of health content display the date this content was last reviewed and/or updated in the following ways?

    __ Displays date last reviewed or verified

    __ Displays date last updated, modified, or revised

    Explanation: The date may be indicated as a year, month and year, or month, day, and year.

  3. Does this page of health content display a copyright date?

    __ Yes

    __ No

    Explanation: The date may be indicated as a year, month and year, month, day, and year, or a range of years.


1 For this question the coder will visit three randomly selected pages of health content that are accessible through direct paths from the website's homepage.

2 For questions 1-3 in this section the coder will visit three randomly selected pages of health content that are accessible through direct paths from the website's homepage.



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