IT Assignment

Question

Evaluation of a Health-Related Website

In July 1999, The American Telemedicine Association (ATA) issued the following advice to consumers who use the Internet for health-related information and services. ATA’s criteria for a quality site include the following (“Advisories” 2–3):

The site is sponsored by a reputable healthcare organization (American Cancer Society, American Medical Association, nationally recognized medical college, or the like). Information from a commercial interest such as a drug company should include assurances that the material is reasonable, balanced, and objective and does not merely promote the company’s own products.
Each information source is clearly documented.
A site providing online diagnosis or prescribing treatment and medication avoids any direct sales of the treatments or medications being prescribed.
The professionals offering medical consultation are fully licensed and their credentials are clearly posted.
The site clearly describes its policies and procedures for maintaining records of the consultation and safeguarding patient privacy.

Visit a health-related Website and evaluate it according to the above criteria. Focus on sites that cover alternative health such as as Alt Medicine, sites that create specific recommendations based on the information you provide such as WebMD, sites that offer specialized consultation about specific medical conditions such as HealthLine, or discussion sites for people with a specific medical condition such as the Cancer Survivors Network.
Assume that you are a Website consultant. Based on your reading so far about technical communication and the ATA guidelines above, prepare a numbered list of specific problems you noticed on the Website and a recommendation of how each problem could be corrected. Your list should be approximately one page, single spaced, with a double space between the problem and the solution and a double space before each numbered item. Attach a title page to your list, formatted in proper APA style.

Carefully review the Grading Rubric for the criteria that will be used to evaluate your assignment.

All, see attached file.

Reference

Lannon. Technical Communication, 11th Edition. [Bookshelf Online].

Discipline: technical writing week 1 Use two other sources, thanks.

Answer

Evaluation of a Health-related Website: WebMD

Over time, the world has seen the creation of numerous health-related websites, all of which address specific or general issues related to health. Seeing as it is difficult to monitor the websites in terms of the validity of health advice or information contained, the American Telemedicine Association (ATA) decided to develop a criteria through which website visitors can determine which health-related websites are legitimate. This essay will evaluate WebMD, a healthcare-related website, according to the ATA criteria, to determine what requirements have been met and which ones have not. The evaluation will also lead to the listing of any problems associated with the website before recommending solutions to them.

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According to the ATA, there are six key factors to consider while identifying a legitimate health-related website (Kim et al, 1999). The site should describe its privacy policies, be sponsored by healthcare organizations that are reputable, have licensed medical consultants with their credentials clearly posted, document their information sources, and avoid direct sales of both the medicine and the treatment provided or prescribed. Lastly, the site should not merely be a promotion tool; rather it should objective, informational one.

WebMD, formerly Healtheon/Web MD, is a health information services website responsible for publishing health and healthcare-related content. It was founded in 1996 by Pavan Nigam and James H. Clark. It publishes health and healthcare-related content and is accredited by the Utilization Review Accreditation Commission (URAC), TRUSTe and HONcode. The website has a very extensive privacy policy, provides sources, and has most, if not all, of its articles reviewed by licensed and qualified medical personnel. The articles give useful information on the issues at hand as opposed to merely promoting the website’s products or those obtained from its sponsors.

However, an evaluation of the website shows that it has some problems, which are explained below, together with proposed solutions.

The Sponsors Are Not Clearly Identified

            According to the ATA, for a health-related website to be deemed credible or legitimate, it has to have sponsors who are reputable healthcare organizations such as the American Medical Association (Krupinski et al, 2006). WebMD does not clearly identify its sponsors in the ‘About Us’ section of the homepage. Therefore, I recommend that the site updates its ‘About Us’ content and homepage to include a list of some of its sponsors so that visitors feel more comfortable reading their content.

The Review Dates Are Not Posted

            There is nothing more dangerous in the healthcare industry than an outdate piece of information or an expired drug or equipment. While it is very possible that all the content on the website is up to date, it is essential to add a review date or the date the content was last updated. Hence, I believe that all the content on the website should be updated as regularly as possible regardless of whether or not there is an actual update on the topic. Moreover, these updates should be included below the name of the writer of the article.

Some of the Content Is Not Cited

            The most common way of identifying a credible document is by looking at the references at the end of the article (Lannon, 2007). In the same way, a credible healthcare article ought to have references and sources alike. WebMD should have a policy whereby all their articles, regardless of the qualifications or credentials of the writer, are properly cited. By doing this, WebMD can succeed in establishing a greater sense of credibility.

References

Kim, P., Eng, T. R., Deering, M. J. & Maxfield, A. (1999). Published criteria for evaluating health related web sites: review. British Medical Journal, 318(7184), 647-649.

Krupinski, E., Dimmick, S., Grigsby, J., Mogel, G., Puskin, D., Speedie, S., … & Yellowlees, P. (2006). Research recommendations for the American telemedicine association. Telemedicine Journal & E-Health, 12(5), 579-589.

Lannon, J. (2007). Technical Communication, 11th Edition. Princeton, NJ: Pearson Education.

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