Online health information is easy to access and abundant — but searching for health information can be overwhelming and confusing. healthfinder.gov has guidelines that can help consumers and patients figure out which health websites are credible and reliable.
healthfinder.gov has been sharing reliable health information since 1997. Along the way, the healthfinder team developed criteria for sites they will link to. These guidelines are informed by a set of website quality guidelines that are a part of Healthy People 2020 — and anyone can use them to evaluate the reliability and credibility of health websites. Organizations can adapt these guidelines for use on their own websites. Health professionals can share this list of quality website indicators with patients.
The following are good signs that the information on a given website is credible:
- The names of the site developers, sponsors, partners, and funding sources are clearly noted.
- The purpose of the site and its intended audiences are clearly stated.
- “Advertisement” labels clearly identify and separate ads from health information.
- The site includes information about the sources, editors, and expert reviewers of the content.
Finding reliable websites is only the beginning of what it takes for people to access and act on the health information they need — and using these guidelines can help make sure they start with credible information. Share the healthfinder.gov Quality Guidelines today.