When medicine fails: evaluating website quality for interpretation of uncertain diagnoses
Joanna AbrahamTo date there has been little agreement on standardised methods for conducting health website quality assessments. One useful approach would be to identify the information consumers are more likely to use in personal health assessments or self care, relative to traditional provider-based information. Ranking of such information might serve to better identify associated benefits or dangers for healthcare consumers. In areas of clinical uncertainty, for example, greater risk (or potential reward) might be attributed to websites where consumers might be more likely to avoid their provider’s opinion about such information. For illustration purposes, in this exploratory study we examine web-based content within a longstanding area of uncertainty for consumers, the diagnosis and treatment of rheumatism. More refined analysis of web-based resources in such a specified, hierarchical domain can provide important clues related to the strategies of healthcare consumers.