The Coffey Blog

Facts matter: Is your healthcare content trustworthy?

Posted on: Monday, August 27, 2018

Candace Ball, Researcher
Lisa Ladd, Senior Writer

On the internet, just about anything goes. But your healthcare consumers hold you to a higher standard. They expect trustworthy, valuable healthcare content from your hospital. That's why you need to carefully evaluate the sources you use for the healthcare content you create.

6 questions good health content researchers ask

Asking these six questions can help determine whether an online source meets your standards for quality, accuracy and reliability:

1. Who paid for it? Take a look at the "About Us" section of the website you're considering using information from. It should state who runs the site and describe its purpose, as well as explain how the sponsoring organization is funded.

Sometimes what's missing can provide important clues about a site's purpose and reliability. A trustworthy site will include contact information and cite its sources.

2. What's the source of the information? It's not unusual for a health or medical site to carry information collected from other sources. But these should be identified and preferably have a link to the original information.

3. When was it last updated? Healthcare information changes constantly. So it's important to verify that you're getting the most up-to-date facts about a condition or treatment. Reliable sites should be updated often—and clearly indicate when the information was written or reviewed.

4. Is it fact or opinion? It should be clear who wrote the health content and where the original data came from. If healthcare information appears to be based solely on someone's opinion or personal experience, it probably doesn't pass the quality test.

5. Is it a real or fake news site? Sometimes advertisements are made to look like news. If you're suspicious that a news site might be fake, look for a disclaimer somewhere on the page that indicates the site is an advertisement. (The disclaimer may be in very small type!)

6. Does the site collect personal information? If a site asks you to open an account, subscribe or sign in, that's not necessarily a red flag. But make sure you know what will be done with that information. Look for privacy and security policies.

Stuck? Use your healthcare experts

Occasionally, you'll find two or more credible sources that report conflicting information, Or you might find a source that describes facts not found anywhere else. This is a good time to consult the subject matter experts within your own hospital. It could be a cutting-edge breakthrough, or it could be too good to be true.

And, finally, remember: Healthcare consumers may be asking these same six questions about the healthcare content you create for them. So make sure your hospital website passes the test too.

Your source for compelling healthcare content

Coffey produces healthcare content you can count on. We know that our clients—and their reputations—rely on us to provide trustworthy information. So we hold ourselves to the highest standards of accuracy. Learn more about how we create content or contact us to find out more about putting our content team to work for your organization.

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