A while back I came across a new tool for those who, like me, use Dr Google but are concerned about the quality of some of the available online health information.
The tool contains two checklists and has been designed for medical education resource producers, editors, end-users, and researchers. I’ll let the authors explain:
“Through a rigorous research process, a list of 151 quality indicators for blogs and podcasts was formed and subsequently refined to elicit the most important quality indicators. These indicators are presented as Quality Checklists to assist with quality appraisal of medical blogs and podcasts.”
The checklists have three domains: credibility, content and design, and cover topics such as avoiding bias and conflict of interest, providing clear information about the identity and qualifications of the author, and referring to sources. The checklists also focus on design and didactic value.
I believe they can be useful for patients to assess the quality of online health resources. For more information read about the 6 warning signs that will help you stay clear from quackery sites.
This tool has the potential to take many health blogs and podcasts to the next level. It is available at no cost and can be found here.
Source: Colmers IN, Paterson QS, Lin M, Thoma B, Chan T. The Quality Checklists for Health Professions Blogs and Podcasts. The Winnower 2:e144720.08769 (2015).