What Makes A Health Website Trustworthy?

In an earlier post we discussed the importance of online content in the internet age and how health websites have the responsibility to meet high standards when it comes to accuracy and comprehensive information. That sometimes means sacrificing being the first to report something or getting the most hits on a given article.

An American study also highlighted some of the readers’ considerations when choosing between different health websites. According to the findings the most trustworthy platforms are the ones recommended by a physician while publishing scientific articles about research is also proof of being an accurate source. 39% of respondents said that the information has to be easy to understand to be considered worthy to read. This also supports earlier findings suggesting that long, overly complicated content is not well-received and not user-friendly.

This brings us back to responsibility. But who has the responsibility to provide trustworthy health content? Who is responsible to make it available, to make it easy to understand, to make it accurate? In healthcare where content is published from many different sources people can’t afford to point fingers. Everyone who creates content has to be responsible. Let the platform be a hospital website, a pharmaceutical Facebook page or a physician’s blog.

And as the study pointed out physicians play a key role in directing patients to trustworthy online content by choosing the accurate ones to recommend. In this sense doctors have an even more crucial part being the gate keepers of health-related information in the digital era. This is why the increasing popularity of the internet or the growing number of online health websites don’t threaten the job of a physician. It only adds another one to the list of daily tasks.

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