Measuring the Relevance of Evaluation Criteria among Health Information Seekers on the Internet.
The World Wide Web continues to evolve dramatically with an estimated 57 million users in the United States. Some two-thirds of Internet users in the United States searched for health information the past year, with 90% indicating they found the information they sought. Thus, health and medical information represents the single most popular topic on the Web, surpassing all other categories. Yet, few measures exist to ensure the accuracy of information provided to children and adults through such sites. Some existing quality control measures such as assessment instruments, authoritative guidelines, and seal of approval systems provide screening mechanisms, but none of these measures guarantees protection for users. This article proposes a new approach to ensuring full and accurate disclosure of information about a website. Referred to as a SiteLegend, the approach uses a hyperlink to fully inform consumers regarding 12 essential components of website. This article describes each of the 12 essential components, then provides an example of an active online link that illustrates actual use of the SiteLegend hyperlink approach.