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Evaluating a Wesite

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In this paper, I have chosen a health-related website and evaluated its credibility. The search engine used to locate the domain, mayoclinic.org, was Google. The specific web address is http://mayoclinic.org. Mayo Clinic is a healthcare organization centered on patient care. It offers locations in Arizona, Florida, and Minnesota. Mayoclinic.org is a website based from the organization, Mayo Clinic, which offers a wealth of health-related information on medicine, occupational health, health promotion, and disease management. The purpose of mayoclinic.org is to educate and provide medical resources to the general public over the age of eighteen years old and medical professionals through different types of literature and retail avenues. It also offers convenient services to patients and potential patients of Mayo Clinic, such as scheduling appointments and contact information for various departments within the organization (Mayo Clinic, 2014). As a nurse, I am always looking for reliable websites that I can send my patients to collect health information. The Mayo Clinic is very popular in the healthcare world. Therefore, the credibility of mayoclinic.org was evaluated using the criteria: authority, information, objectivity, ease of navigation, and privacy and security policies (Chamberlain College of Nursing [CCN], 2014). Evaluation Criteria

The authority of a website refers to the qualifications of the author or authors of the site (CCN, 2014). The credentials of the author(s) and/or editor(s) should be examined (Orlowski, Oermann, & Shaw-Kokot, 2013). On the site, mayoclinic.org, the information that is placed on the website pages come from a plethora of medical editors. The editing staff consists of: a medical director, senior medical editors, a founding medical editor, and specialty medical editors. These editors work on the web content daily to ensure the content is clear, relevant, and accurate. Each editor’s name has a link attached to it so visitors can learn more about them professionally (Mayo Clinic, 2014). It is important that the credentials of each editor are represented (Orlowski et al., 2013). Information

The information on a website should be accurate, up-to-date, and appropriate for its designated audience (CCN, 2014). Information that is current on a website can be exhibited by recent research or information referenced, working links, and/or a recent update notated on the site (Roberts, 2010). As stated previously, content goes through M.D. credentialed editors on mayoclinic.org. Other content on the website, such as drug information and publications, are current and are provided through Micromedex and PubMed. The content presented on mayoclinic.org is appropriate for its intended audience of eighteen and over. The health content on mayoclinic.org requires a high school reading level or higher (Mayo Clinic, 2014). Objectivity

Criteria evaluated in objectivity includes if material presented on a website is biased or not. Ways to evaluate bias is to look a site’s sponsorships and/or advertisements (CCN, 2014). Mayoclinic.org accepts sponsorships and advertising based on strict guidelines. The site proclaims all advertisement and sponsors must comply with Mayo Clinic’s mission and value statement. A clear separation between advertisements and editorial material is represented. Sponsorships and advertisements are clearly labeled and identified on mayoclinic.org (Mayo Clinic, 2014). The advertisements and sponsorships do not seem to affect the information presented on the website. Health-related literature is presented factually and unbiased. Ease of Navigation

The construction of a website is also a distinguishing factor of credibility (CCN, 2014). The web page must be organized; pages load quickly, font available in different sizes and languages, and a site search engine to help find things easier on a site are all important factors (Roberts, 2010). Mayoclinic.org loads fairly quickly, different languages are available on some pages on the site, and a site search engine is also available. The site does not offer a font size change or specify computer requirements for optimal website viewing (Mayo Clinic, 2014). Privacy and Security

A website’s “Privacy Policy” should disclose to the site visitor how their information will be gathered, shared, and used. This can refer to the use of “cookies” or other tracking software; personal information inputted by users to email list, site store, and newsletters; and third parties (CCN, 2014). Mayoclinic.org does not collect or house any information that will identify a user personally. Email addresses are not kept and all surveys conducted are de-identified. Any user can opt-out of any email communication, newsletter, or survey at any time. Mayoclinic.org does however use “cookies” to collect information about users and IP addresses. This information is used for marketing, research, and analysis purposes. For those users that open a medical or retail account, personal data is housed and may be shared to a third party, only in effort to provide a service to user of the account. Mayoclinic.org does caution its users in sharing person information on their website with third parties, fore they cannot control how they collect and use your personal information (Mayo Clinic, 2014).

Mayoclinic.org is considered a credible health-related information website. The content on the website is edited by credentialed medical doctors in every medical specialty; therefore the information is accurate (Roberts, 2010). The site is appropriate for its intended audience of eighteen years and older, which is noted in the “Terms and Conditions” section. Even though mayoclinic.org has several sponsors and advertisers, information is still presented in factual, unbiased manner (Mayo Clinic, 2014). The website is user-friendly for the most part despite not offering users the option to change font sizes. This may deter users who are visually impaired (Roberts, 2010). Lastly, the privacy and security of users of mayoclinic.org are clearly outlined in their “Privacy Policy” section (Mayo Clinic, 2014). According to Orlowski, Oermann, & Shaw-Kokot (2013), 80% of the people in the world utilize the internet to locate information that is health-related.

This has sparked the development of many health-centered websites. Unfortunately, not all websites that offer this information present accurate information (Orlowski, et al., 2013). As a nurse, it is imperative that the correct evaluation methods are utilized to help educate patients on the accuracy of such websites (Roberts, 2010). In turn, patients can apply these methods when searching on the internet independently. Nurses can utilize credible health-related websites to stay current on certain information. Referring your patients to credible websites can enhance or offer an alternative to patient education. Lastly, credible websites may offer empowerment to your patients. Patients seem to feel more assertive about their healthcare situation when they use credible websites to access health-related information (Anderson & Klemm, 2008).

Anderson, A., & Klemm, P. (2008). The Internet: Friend or foe when providing patient education? Clinical Journal of Oncology Nursing, 12(1), pp. 55–63. doi:10.1188/08.CJON.55-63 Chamberlain College of Nursing. (2014). NR500 Foundational Concepts and Applications: Week 2 lesson. [Lecture notes]. St. Louis, MO: online publication. Mayo Clinic (2014). Retrieved from http://mayoclinic.org on July, 14, 15, 16, 2014. Orlowski, J. L., Oermann, M. H., & Shaw-Kokot, J. (2013). Evaluation of heart failure websites for patient education. Advanced Emergency Nursing Journal, 35(3), pp. 240-246. doi:10.1097/TME.0b013e318296469b Roberts, L. (2010). Health information and the internet: The 5 Cs website evaluation tool. British Journal of Nursing, 19(5), pp. 322-325.

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