Evaluating Health Websites: the Citizen's Perspective - ICMCC

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Evaluating Health Websites: the Citizen's Perspective - ICMCC

Evaluating Health Websites:

the Citizen's Perspective

Dr Laurence Alpay

L.L.Alpay@lumc.nl


Outline

• Motivation & Focus

• Format of assessment criteria: examples

• Assessment criteria for evaluating health websites

• Providers of assessment criteria

• Discussion

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Motivation

To guide citizens, patients

and healthcare professionals to reliable sources

of healthcare information in cyberspace

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Focus

• Assessing health websites

• from the user's perspective

• not on website development and management

• Users

• citizens, patients, professionals in healthcare

• not website designers

• Work approach to the review

• non exhaustive review

• Internet search (via goggle, scholar goggle, pubmed, web of

science)

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Format of assessment criteria

• Checklist of criteria with (or without) scores

• Guidelines

• Policy paper

• Scientific publication

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Assessment criteria delivered as a checklist

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Assessment criteria delivered within a policy paper

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Assessment criteria

from a scientific paper

example of

reference to

authority

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Structure of a guide for assessment criteria

contents of the

guide including a

checklist

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Criteria for evaluating health websites

• General assessment criteria

• Assessment criteria for information contents

• Assessment criteria for navigation

• Assessment criteria for usability

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General criteria

• Authority

• Objectivity

• Intended audience

• Copyright

• Privacy

• Disclaimer and cautions

• Contact

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Criteria for information contents

• Accuracy

• Currency

• Completeness

•Clarity

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Criteria for search navigation

• Site map/index

• Back button

• Return to Home Page

• Path indicator

•Links

• Search engine

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Criteria for usability

• Graphics and design

• readability of text, images or video

• layout

• Speed

•Access

• to the website

• to external links

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Products vs.

group of criteria

Checklist Guidelines Policy paper Scientific paper

General



Information





contents

Search

navigation


Usability



Little information provided to consumers

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Applying the criteria (General)

User's

Level of

Difficulty to

How to assess?

perspective vs.

Criteria

importance

assess

(depending on the source)

Authority essential ** easy -look for links "about us" *

-look for known logos **

-look for the URL domain §§

Intended

essential

easy to

From the home page -look for

audience

difficult

statement "a site for …." "I am

…" *

-look links labelled "consumer"

for information to general public *

*=SPRY

**=Internet Health Coalition

§§=Berkeley Library

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Applying the criteria (Information contents)

User's

Level of

Difficulty to

How to assess?

perspective vs.

importance

assess

Criteria

Accuracy essential ** easy to difficult

(can be a

subjective

assessment)

-look whether the

information is supported by

reliable sources *

-look for statements

considered broad and

sweeping *

-look for errors in grammar

and spelling *

Currency essential ** easy -look is the page is dated,

and current enough §§

*=SPRY **=Internet Health Coalition §§ =Berkeley Library

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Applying the criteria (Search navigation)

User's

Level of

Difficulty to

How to assess?

perspective vs.

importance

assess

Criteria

Index/site map minor ** easy -locate the button "site map"

or "index"

Back button (not)

active

important easy -look whether the " back"

button is greyed out §

Search engine important ** easy to difficult -locate the search button

-check whether site includes

a usable search engine §

**=Internet Health Coalition

§=Anderson&Allee

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Applying the criteria (Usability)

User's

Level of

Difficulty to

How to assess?

perspective vs.

importance

assess

Criteria

Design important ** easy to medium

(can be subjective

assessment)

-layout: assess whether the

website is easy to read

(small prints) **

-photos: check whether the

photos are of good quality of

print **

Access important ** easy -access to internal and

external links: check

whether links are active or

dead §

**=Internet Health Coalition

§=Anderson&Allee

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Providers of assessment criteria (1)

• (Semi) Governmental bodies

• National level e.g.

• NHS discern project

• TNO QMIC (Quality for Medical Information and Communication)

• European level e.g.

• eEurope 2002,2005: Quality criteria for health related websites

• University libraries e.g.

• Berkeley Library

• Wolfgram Memorial Library

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Providers of assessment criteria (2)

• HC & ICT related organisations/foundations e.g.

• Internet Health Coalition

• Mitretek Health Information Technology Institute

• Hon (Health on the Net Foundation)

• (Semi) governmental bodies, HC & ICT related organisations

and libraries, as main providers of

• assessment criteria to users (not necessarily for health

information)

• accreditation labels (third party quality)

• filtering tools

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Providers of assessment criteria (3)

• Care providers e.g.

• Children's Virtual Hospital

• Children's Memorial Hospital

• Some attention given to providing website visitors with

assessment criteria

• Distinction between directing patients to existing A.C. links vs.

creating own pages of A.C.

• Place of the assessment criteria within the website

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Providers of assessment criteria (4)

• Patient organisations & patients' own initiatives e.g.

• SPRY (Setting Priorities for Retirement Years)

• Cancer index (Guide to Internet Resources for Cancer)

• Little attention given to providing website visitors

with assessment criteria

Health/Medical insurance companies

• Little interest or need for providing assessment criteria

to potential customers

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Audience vs.

Providers

Patient & care givers (HC) professionals Citizens (general

public)

(Semi)

governmental

bodies

Checklist with scores

Guidelines

Policy paper

Checklist with

scores

Guidelines

Policy paper

Libraries centres Scientific paper Checklist

Guidelines

HC & ICT related

organisations

Checklist

Checklist with scores

Guidelines

Policy paper

Policy paper

Care providers

Patient

organisations

Health insurance

companies

Checklist

Guidelines

Checklist

Guidelines

HC

"customers"

targeted

only

- - -

broader

types of

products + larger

population

targeted

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Gap between assessment criteria for health websites at citizen’s

disposal and their usability in real life

Checklist

Guidelines

World Wide

Web

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Barriers to the applicability of assessment criteria

• Barriers to appropriate usability: characteristics of A.C.

• mixed terminology

• standards not fully developed

• emphasis on selective set of criteria

• Barriers to appropriate usability: providers' perception and

knowledge of citizens

• providers’ expectations of citizen’s literacy level and role

• insufficient understanding of citizen’s actual use of assessment

criteria & of its impact on consumer's health management

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Citizen’s needs and requirements

• Citizen needs to be able to

• select one (or more) provider

• access the assessment criteria

• apply the assessment criteria

• Citizen should be well informed

• information quality on the Internet

• e-health management

• trusted websites, accreditations

• Citizen should be well equipped

• evaluation procedures and tools

• specialised search engines

• skills and coping strategies

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Bridging the citizen's usability gap

Bridging gap is an ongoing process, a co-operative effort

Providers

Citizens

Assessment

criteria for

health websites

providers'

shortcomings

citizen's needs

and requirements

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"Melting pot" of assessment criteria for evaluating

health websites

THANK YOU

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