98th Annual Meeting DOG 2000

R 626

Quality evaluation of medical information on the internet

R. Schalnus

Information retrieval from electronic media related to ophthalmology and eye care becomes common and widely spread. Like bibliographic databases as MEDLINE, EMBASE or SCISEARCH the WorldWideWeb even more gains great popularity among professionals and the public as a resource for medical and health care information.

The content of electronically available bibliographic databases has generally passed a peer reviewing process but this procedure is not commonly followed in web publishing. Only 14 out of 47 evaluation/rating services in the internet published their criteria of rating the quality of health information systems on the web.

"Health on the Net" (HON) is the most widely known global approach of quality evaluation of medical and health information published on the web. HON Foundation promotes an ethical codex for the presentation of medical information available on the net and does not evaluate the scientific content of the information in the first line. The DISCERN project develops and provides a tool for assessing a broad range of consumer health information on the web. Well established is the OMNI-project. A peer reviewing process is an important component of its evaluation procedure of medical web sites.

So far the following criteria for the evaluation of medical and health care information on the web have been suggested: objectivity, authority, reviewing process, evidence, precision, availability and accessibility, usability and target group.

The internet is characterised by its high level of interactivity, a short half time of the information provided, an outstanding potential to develop and a most unlimited and unrestricted availability and accessibility. Therefore aside from scientific and technical criteria it will be necessary to implement an approach from media-, communication-, and social sciences into the evaluation of medical and health care information on the web.

Zentrum der Augenheilkunde, Johann-Wolfgang-Goethe-Universit├Ąt, Theodor-Stern-Kai 7, D-60590 Frankfurt/Main