Quality of health and medication information on Brazilian websites

Ana Paula Soares Gondim Davi Pontes Weyne Bruno Sousa Pinto Ferreira About the authors

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the quality of information about health and medication available on Brazilian websites. METHODS: A descriptive study with a quantitative approach regarding Brazilian websites, conducted from January to March 2011. The search sites were located using two search phrases: "medication information" and "health information." The choice of variables was based on the Internet information quality criteria of the World Health Organization and the International Code of Ethics for health and services sites on the Internet. The dependent variable was whether the site had information about health or medication. The independent variables were access, appearance, organization, honesty, transparency, responsibility and origin. For statistical analysis, the χ² and Fisher exact tests were applied, with a significance level of 5%. RESULTS: Of the 37 Brazilian sites analyzed, 24 (64.9%) contained health information and 13 (35.1%) contained medication information. Regarding appearance, organization and access criteria, most sites related to health and medication were easily accessible, easy to understand, used objective language, were updated and organized logically and provided accurate and scientifically grounded information. CONCLUSION: The honesty criterion differed significantly between sites, and the quality of information presented on health and medication websites showed significant differences, suggesting the need for a more systematic organization of these topics on the Internet.

Internet; Consumer health information; Information products and services

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