Misuse of prescription medications is a serious problem largely due to lack of information. Lay users are making use of resources available on the World Wide Web in order to bridge this information gap. It has already been noted though that health and medicine oriented sites present serious shortcomings with regard to quality and reliability of their content. In this review, checklists were used to determine to which extent the criteria suggested for quality evaluation of on-line health information are observed by sites offering information on R x medications to the public. Also evaluated was the sites' comprehensiveness in coverage of important subject specific topics. The reviewed sites met inadequately the proposed quality criteria and presented significant variations in their coverage of the subject. Evaluation of information accuracy remains an unresolved problem in quality assessment, while techniques for automated review and retrieval are urgently needed. In the meantime, though, quality guidelines could prove more useful in getting valuable feedback from information providers and lay users alike, improving quality of information at its point of production.

Consumers, Information, Internet, Medication, Quality Evaluation
dx.doi.org/10.1080/146392399298375, hdl.handle.net/1765/62202
Informatics for Health and Social Care
Department of Medical Informatics

Doupi, P.V, & van der Lei, J. (1999). R x medication information for the public and the WWW: Quality issues. In Informatics for Health and Social Care (Vol. 24, pp. 171–179). doi:10.1080/146392399298375