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Revision Date Username Comment
2302 Aug 2009 - 16:35gpaciott? 
2201 Aug 2009 - 16:35schu2317? 
2101 Aug 2009 - 00:06kalm0040? 
2031 Jul 2009 - 20:30jaco0234? 
1931 Jul 2009 - 20:10kalm0040? 
1830 Jul 2009 - 11:25meie0129? 
1729 Jul 2009 - 13:26AlisonLood 
1629 Jul 2009 - 06:46ThomasClancy 
1528 Jul 2009 - 22:02palme309? 
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You are here: UMWiki>HealthInformatics Web>Spring2009Sec01>Topic2-ConsumerWebSpring2009Sec01 (02 Aug 2009, gpaciott)

Excellent posts Scott, Laura, Molly, Allison and Karl.

Tom C

Begin a thread regarding a consumer website for your discussion assignment below (see Topic 1 for an example);

Tom Clancy


Website: http://www.diabetes.org/

This website appears to be an excellent source, very trustworthy and credible. It is run by the American Diabetes Association with a very informative "About Us" page thoroughly explaining their mission and goals. While the site does not list the specific authors of most of the content, they do have a link that gives detailed lists of officers, board members and senior management with credentials, biographies, and photos. As a non-profit organization, the ADA site is not trying to sell many items except for some educational materials and pleas for donations. This is mainly an information site that is well organized and broken into sections catering to different viewers depending upon their needs be that newly diagnosed, family members of those with diabetes, or healthcare workers. There are pictures and graphics but they are used sparingly. This contributes to the fast loading of pages ideal for those with slower internet connections. For the most part, the content is not date stamped, so there is no real way to verify when it was last updated. However, it does appear to be current, and the site does emphasize diabetes research as crucial to learning more about onset, management and cure. There is a separate search engine aside from the standard site search that allows the user to search for ADA-funded research grant awardees and their work. There are also links on the home page for the latest in diabetes news and research summaries powered by patientINFORM. The site also has a link to view content in Spanish; however, there is a more limited subset of information available for Spanish readers. As a final bonus, there is a message board with numerous topics where registered users can read and post questions and discussions. Overall, the website is very well designed and easy to navigate with extensive information and resources. I would highly recommend this site to patients and healthcare workers alike.

- Scott Kerwin

Website: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/diabetes.html

This website is an excellent commercial resource. It is credible, accurate, and easy to use.

Authority/Source: Overall, this website seems to be a general informative website for diabetes and related topics. MedlinePlus? is a service of the U.S. National Libarary of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health. There is an entire "About MedlinePlus?" page on the website that allows the reader to learn about the healthcare professionals who are responsible for the content placed online. Links are provided to the sites for the sponsoring organizations so the reader can learn more about them. There is also a "Contact Us" page where readers can write comments or questions. A mailing address is also provided.

Accuracy: This website appears to be extremely accurate. The website itself does not offer much information, but rather provides links to credible organizations on a variety of topics concerning diabetes including: diagnosis/symptoms, treatment, coping, prevention, research, and much more. Each link is accompanied by the name of the sponsoring organization. The website is very organized and is without typos or spelling errors.

Objectivity/Content: This website is very objective in it's content. It is strictly for public educational purposes. There are no advertisements present. There might be a slight bias in the presentation of the website because it highlights links are within the sponsoring organizations.

Currency/Timeliness: The information on this website was last updated on July 22, 2009. The topic was last reviewed February 27, 2009. The information is current and looks to be update frequently. The website has a "Latest News" section containing news and articles from June and July 2009, which validates its currency.

Structure/Access: MedlinePlus? is very user-friendly. All the information is divided among topic areas, making it easy and accesible. All the links outside MedlinePlus? open in a new window, so navigation through MedlinePlus? is still possible. The webiste is not crowded with pictures, so pages load quickly. A search function is available.

Laura Geissler

-- Main.geis0136 - 27 Jul 2009

Website: http://www.diabetes.com/

Since both websites above seem to have gotten pretty good reviews, I thought I would add one that is a little more suspect.

Authority/Source: This is a website run/maintained by the pharmaceutical company, GlaxoSmithKline, which manufactures medications for diabetes. There is a "contact us" link at the bottom of the page, but this does not bring you to any information regarding the author of the content. Instead, it is a place to ask questions about GSK products. There is a page with testimonials from people with diabetes, but nothing stating whether or not these stories were true.

Accuracy: The website provides only very basic information about the different types of diabetes, but generally focuses on type II. There is a disclaimer at the bottom of the page stating that this is not a substitute for medical advice. I was unable to find any inaccurate information, as it was on the very basic level. There is no HONcode rating.

Objectivity/Content: The website provided information on the types of diabetes, tests, medications, management, possible complications, nutrition, exercise, and a glossary of terms. None of the main content contains an outright advertisement, but there is a large GSK ad with wording and imagery very similar to that of the content running along the side of the screen at all times.

Currency/Timeliness: There is a copyright date, but no date indicating when the informationw as last updated. The information appears current, again because it is at the most basic level.

Structure/Access: The site is very easy to use, with clearly written buttons at the top, along the side, and at the bottom. It appears very nice and professional, which may be misleading, as it is a commercial site. The intended audience is likely people with a new diagnosis, as the information is somewhat superficial and does not dive deeply into the disease and what causes it.

Molly Forrest

Molly, I agree with your assessments of the previous websites: http://www.diabetes.org/, http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/diabetes.html . These two being very credible and valid sources of information. I also agree with your assessment on http://www.diabetes.com. It is always suspect when a drug company is behind the information. I would also like to add a second suspect site to the discussion.

Website: http://diabetes.about.com/

Authority/source: About.com is from the parent company of “The New York Times Company”. It does have the HON code in the lower Right hand corner that is in color and up to date. There are, however, multiple sponsored links that show that this is a for profit site. The links are from a variety of sites ranging from Health professor.com to diet plans and a site for cinnamon (“that can safely lower blood sugar”). Therefore, even though this has good information, being from such sources, I would not send people to this site.

Accuracy: All the information on the site is accurate. There are a variety of topics: diet, glycemic index, exercise, and blood pressure. Then there is the blog…

Objectivity/content: As one scrolls down, the blog is there, it seems to be run by an RN and gives “up to date” new study information and press releases. There is a place for comments. The comments seem almost made up by the company… or very odd people writing in with extra time on their hands (hum… maybe I’m not that objective).

Currency/timeliness: the last HON update certification was 5/09. This is current as far as DMII information.

Structure/Access: This website is a barrage of advertisements and links to sponsored sites all around, some having to do with the subject of DMII as an insulin pump that is remote that communicates wirelessly and low cost health insurance to others as superfluous as Superpages.com.

In summary, I would not give this site out to anyone in regards to education about diabetes.

– Alison Lood

Hi all- I will be adding another credible Diabetes web page, www.diabetes.webmd.com, part of the WebMD? web content. I can say that as a Mayo employee, I had acutally never been on WebMD?, as I preferred the Mayo Clinic content. I fount the Web MD diabetes page to be very busy, with tons of information. The information does appear to be very accurate, and written at an appropriate level of health literacy. It is unclear to me who contributed exactly what info to the diabetes page, but a deeper look reveals several physicians are on the editorial board for WebMD?, and I can only assume that given the multitude of features on this page, there were multiple contributers from several healthcare backgrounds (MD, nurse, dietician). The site sports HON Code 10/2008, as well as URAC and trustE Privacy Certification logos. A disclaimer at the bottom of the page states that "Web MD does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment".

The features of the page are great. There are areas with "hot topics" like prediabetes, a quiz to see if you can spot the healthy food nutrition labels, a Q and A section, video clips, the ability to sign up for a newsletter, and also news headlines that include the recent Medtronics recall of Insulin infusion sets.

There are lots of sponsor commercials on the site, but at least this is not jsut a one company sponsored site.

Overall, I found this to be a very good site that I would visit again. I would probably recommend it in conjuction with the ADA site to others, as the ADA site is, to me, the gold standard for content, but maybe not for user friendliness and features.

Karl Palmer

Karl, Interesting that you found Web MD to be a site you would refer people to. I have heard good information about it, but it is also the site health care professionals joke about when patients or family members believe they have more accurate knowledge about a subject. I did notice Web MD was not mentioned in the Breeze presentation and was surprised by that. Also, with all the advertisements, did you not find that is distracting and showing off its less valid side? Alison

Website: http://www.joslin.org/

Authority/Source: The Joslin Diabetes Center appears to be a reliable and reputable organization that facilitates the collaboration between researchers, clinicians, and educators. According to the website, the Joslin Diabetes Center has over 300 researchers, over 120 M.D. and PhD? fellows training at the center annually, and has won research-related awards from the National Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Medicine, the American Diabetes Association (ADA) and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. Furthermore, the Joslin website identifies the large number of professionals that make up their multi-disciplinary approach to Diabetes care: "Joslin Clinic has the highest concentration of Certified Diabetes Educators–nurses, dietitians, exercise physiologists, nurse practitioners and mental health professionals–anywhere in the world." Furthermore, the Joslin Diabetes Center collaborates with other reputable medical centers: Harvard Medical School and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. According to the Joslin website, one education program, Joslin’s Affiliated Center Program, includes over 20 hospital-based affiliates and satellites in the US and provides more than 100,00 patient visits per year.

Accuracy: The information presented on the web-site is accurate. Not only is there a section for basic information, or a beginner's guide, but the website provides accurate research and evidenced-based information for health care providers. I was unable to find a HONcode, but I did find a disclaimer section. The disclaimer section said, "Material placed on this Web site by Joslin Diabetes Center is for the purpose of providing information only. It is not intended as the practice of medicine or the provision of medical services. This site does not provide medical advice." There were no advertisements for products and services. Furthermore, according to the website, Joslin's site provides links to other non-Joslin sites. Joslin has no control over these sites and cannot claim the accuracy of the website's accuracy. It should be noted that the links found within the sections are to reputable organizations (e.g. the American Diabetes Association (ADA Position Statement: Diabetes Care in the School and Day Care Setting)). Lastly, the website does offer a “Discussion Board” in which the accuracy of information may not be accurate. Users can reply to each other. The website does say that professionals may post responses to questions posed in the diabetes forums, but information, especially from other users, may not be accurate.

Objectivity/content: The information was objective and the level and depth of content was extremely beneficial for a large range of individuals. This range included people that have very little knowledge of Diabetes to those that are healthcare professionals. The site included a section specifically for healthcare professionals, diabetes research, and general diabetes knowledge for those seeking basic information. Some of the topics include, Type I Diabetes, Type 2 Diabetes, Diabetes during pregnancy, Diabetes management, Diabetes testing, nutritional guidelines, Diabetes complications, etc.

Currency/Timeliness: The Diabetes research section and Newsroom were very up-to-date with articles from July 2009. At the bottom of the webpage, the site says, "Copyright © 2008 by Joslin Diabetes Center." Some information may not be updated frequently. Structure/access: The structure of the web-page is very user-friendly. The top of the page includes six tabs that allow for easy navigation of the main topics. After clicking on a tab (e.g. Diabetes Information), a navigation bar on the left allows for navigation of all of the possible topics under the "Diabetes Information" main tab. The only concern is that although it is very easy to navigate, there is a large amount of information. This may be overwhelming for individuals that do not know what they are looking for or have difficulty using websites and navigating websites.

In summary, I would certainly recommend this website to those interested in gathering information about Diabetes. This would also be an excellent starting point for health-care professionals searching for current research or links to guidelines and standards of care.

-Adam Meier

Website: http://www.emedicinehealth.com/diabetes/article_em.htm

The website I reviewed was relatively trustworthy, accurate, and objective although I think there a few points which detract from its trustworthiness. Information about dates, authors and their credentials, and policies is easily accessible in the ‘About Us,’ ‘Terms of Use,’ ‘Contact Us,’ and ‘Advertising Policy’ sections.

Trustworthiness: The site claims to be compliant with HONcode standards for trustworthy health information; however, the certificate appears to have expired July 23, 2009. (It is possible that this hasn’t been updated yet.)

Authority/Source: All authors, most of which are health professionals, as well as their biographies and credentials are easily found in a link in the glossary. Other recommended sources of information on the website include: the American Diabetes Association, National Institutes of Health, US Food and Drug Administration, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Hormone Foundation. This website is owned and operated by WebMD?.

Accuracy: For the most part, this information on diabetes appears accurate.

Objectivity/Content: There seems to be the possibility for some bias based on the sponsors that fund this website. For example, the website is funded by some third parties but claims that those third parties have no influence over the content of the information on the website. Additionally, when content has been funded by a third party, the website has a policy: “generally [you] see the words ‘funded by’ followed by the name of the company who funded the content.” The good thing is that this website seems to be up front when there is some kind of conflict of interest. There are also pharmaceutical advertisements on the website. Emedicine likely gets some kind of kickback from allowing Cymbalta, for example, advertise on their site. The pharmaceutical company may not influence the content on the website, but I still think this is a conflict of interest. When a person goes to the clinic, they don’t expect the M.D. to be holding up a box of Zoloft the entire time they are giving this person information about their depression, however objective it may be. (One might think that the M.D. is getting a little money from the pharmaceutical company to prescribe Zoloft.) What I’m saying is that I think that displaying ads that may interfere with the objectivity of the information that the website is trying to present doesn’t seem like such a great idea to me. (I do know, however, that advertisements are not uncommon anywhere we go whether that be on the internet or to the store.) Furthermore, it seems kind of odd to me that WebMD? would have so many websites in its network that seem to have the same information on them. Why would this be?

Currency/Timeliness: Copyright 2009 but the last editorial review was apparently in April 2008.

Structure/Access: The webpage is use friendly. There is a glossary with quick links to various parts of the Diabetes articles along with quick links to topics related to diabetes. All information related to dates, authors, and contact information is easy to find.

--Nicole Dray

The website that I chose to look at was the MedicineNet?.com diabetes page: http://www.medicinenet.com/diabetes_mellitus

In the “About Us” sections, MedicineNet?.com identifies itself as an online healthcare media publishing company whose purpose is to provide current and accurate medical information to consumers. MedicineNet?.com is owned and operated by WebMD?.

The author of the main site content is identified and there is a link to a page discussing her credentials and some of the journals in which her work has been published. There is also an editor listed who has a similar page explaining his credentials. They have a section titled “Second Opinion articles” which provides information from the National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse (National Institutes of Health), and the Cleveland Clinic. Summaries of diabetes information from recent research is listed and the sources are all fully cited, and the authors of the summaries are also identified.

In addition to their statement that they “does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment”, they have a page explaining “MedicineNet’s role as educator”, which explains further that the site is intended to help individuals better understand health issues and provide them with information that will allow them to make more informed decisions, and be able to know what questions to ask when they see their physician. It once again reiterates that the site is not intended to take the place of physician visits.

The site displays the HONcode symbol along with a link to Health on the Net’s website where one can view the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information and another link to verify MedicineNet?.com’s certification.

MedicineNet?.com was initially certified in July of 1996 and the most recent review of certification was December of 2008 – validity of certification is one year from most recent review. Certification means that the site has been evaluated as sufficiently meeting criteria in the following areas: 1. Authoritative – indicate qualifications of authors, 2. Complementarity – that the site does not try to replace the physician but acts as a supplementary source of information 3. Privacy 4. Attribution – material sources are cited 5. Justifyability – claims are backed by evidence 6. Transparency – presentation and e-mail contact are accessible 7. Financial disclosure – funding sources are identified 8. Advertising policy – advertising is easily distinguished from editorial content

Articles that are referenced and the content written for the site appear to be quite current and/or have been edited or reviewed recently.

There are advertisements, but they are easy to identify, and all the content was cited. I thought it provided quite a bit of useful, current information in a very accessible format.

Amy Jacobson

In reply to Amy:

The website I looked at http://www.emedicinehealth.com/diabetes/article_em.htm is owned and operated by WebMD? as well. It seems that there is a whole network of websites owned by WebMD?. But, alot of them contain the same information just under a different web address. Part of me wants to be suspicious and think that WebMD? makes its information seem more credible to consumers because they find the same information in multiple different websites. But what would be the motivation for this? Maybe the sites are just linked to WebMD? and they actually provide different types of information. Any thoughts?

--Nicole Dray

Website: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/diabetes/DS01121

Trustworthiness: The HON code button was visible at the bottom of the page. Two links, one with information on HON certification and one giving further information about this MayoClinic?.com website’s certification, are present. MayoClinic?.com was first certified in 1997, and its most recent review occurred on October 20, 2008 (certification lasts a year). This MayoClinic?.com website on diabetes was last updated on July 23, 2009.

Authority/Source: The Mayo Clinic is respected world-wide as a leading healthcare organization. Beneath each topic heading is a subheading: "By Mayo Clinic Staff," implying that the authors are representing the Mayo Clinic with each page. A list of references is available at the bottom of each page; articles from the American Diabetes Association and various established research journals such as Aging Clinical and Experimental Research.

Accuracy: The website content and information appears to be accurate.

Objectivity/Content: Possibility for bias seems minimal. The "About This Site" page includes a great deal of information on MayoClinic?.com’s advertising, sponsorship, and corrections policies, as well as information about guidelines for sites linking to MayoClinic?.com.

Currency/Timeliness: The reference page cites extremely recent articles. The oldest article referenced is form 2008.

Structure/Access: This MayoClinic?.com website on diabetes is structured in a very user-friendly manner, making use of linked headings, subheadings, and radio buttons to expand information on the main webpage, rather than sending the user to a completely different link and "getting lost." Each topic page has a "see also" link at the bottom, linking the user to other relevant MayoClinic?.com pages (for instance, the "Complications" topic on the diabetes page shows links to pages on heart disease, preeclampsia, and dehydration). The website is remarkably user-friendly, considering the wealth of information available.

--Anne Schulein-Fournier

Website: http://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/consumer/index.htm

Authority /Source: This is a governmental website that is dedicated to disseminating information on diabetes and its complications, and is authored by the United States Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion and the Division of Diabetes Translation. Contact information is easily available and offers phone numbers, email and a postal address.

Accuracy: This site appears to be very accurate with no sign of spelling errors or typos. Sources for all factual information are listed on the website and links are provided to verify them.

Objectivity/Content: All of this content is being provided as a public service; there is no advertising on the website. The authors don’t seem to have a sort of bias for producing this website other than to increase the overall health of the American Population through Diabetes education. The site does provide links to other organizations and the authors note that this content is “provided as a service to the users…the links don’t constitute an endorsement of these organizations or programs by the CDC or federal government”

Currency/Timeliness: This page was last update on June 27, 2006 and last reviewed December 3, 2008. There isn’t information on how often this occurs.

Structure/Access: The layout is user-friendly. This site is organized with basic fonts, bullet points and minimal graphics. Information is divided into four categories with sub-categories. Because the information is primarily text, it is easily and quickly loaded onto a users screen.

Gina Paciotti

Topic revision: r23 - 02 Aug 2009 - 16:35:31 - gpaciott
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