Tools for assessing the quality and accessibility of online health information: Initial testing among breast cancer websites

Pamela Whitten, Samantha Nazione, Carolyn Lauckner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations

Abstract

Health websites are used frequently, but there are many concerns about their value as information sources. Additionally, there are numerous personal barriers that prevent individuals from wholly benefitting from them. In order to assess the quality of health websites and their accessibility to users, we created tools based on previous research that examine design aspects, information validity, motivational health content and literacy content. To test these tools, we examined 155 breast cancer websites and created scores for each assessment tool to describe the percent of constructs on the average website. Results demonstrated that websites performed best on the design tool followed by the information validity, motivational health content and literacy assessment tools. The average website contained the majority of the design and information validity constructs, but only about a third of the motivational health or literacy constructs. Multiple items from the motivational health content and literacy assessment tools were not found on any of the websites, and many were only represented on a handful of sites. Overall, the assessment tools were useful in evaluating the quality of websites, and could serve as valuable resources for health website developers in the future.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)366-381
Number of pages16
JournalInformatics for Health and Social Care
Volume38
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2013

Keywords

  • Breast cancer
  • Internet
  • Literacy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Informatics
  • Nursing (miscellaneous)
  • Health Information Management

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