It's Judgment Day for Hospital Websites
- Does the website list at least one author, editor or reviewer to assure medical information is up-to-date and consistent with evidence and standards of practice?
- Does the website include references for its content
- Does the website explicitly state its purpose, goal, or mission?
- Is the date of the site's last update displayed, so viewers know it is current?
- Is more than half of the information o the site at or below an 8th grade reading level?
- If acronyms, jargon, or abbreviations, are used, are they defined?
- Is there a glossary or index of terms?
- Does the site include a phone number or e-mail address for viewers to contact the hospital?
- Does the site have a link to telephone numbers for various departments and physicians?
- Does the site have information to help viewers select an appropriate provider?
- Does the site provide information on specific medical conditions and their treatments? For example, Northwestern Memorial Hospital includes overview information on various diseases and lists of specialists, clinical trials and quality data, as well as podcasts on related topics.
- Can users access the web page from a mobile device?
As I look over these questions, I can see a few more I'd include to gauge the quality of a hospital website. At the top of the list would be this:
Does the site prohibit the use of models posing as providers and happy patients?
Glad I got that off my chest.
Cheryl Clark is senior quality editor and California correspondent for HealthLeaders Media. She is a member of the Association of Health Care Journalists.
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