The Coffey Blog

Is your healthcare content trustworthy?

Posted on: Monday, October 31, 2016

Candace Ball, Researcher

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.

4 questions good researchers ask

Asking these four 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 on most websites. 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. 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.

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

4. Does the site collect personal information? If a site asks you to open an account 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 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 four 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.

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