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August 26, 1998

Internet Health Ratings Systems: Knowledge vs Babel

Author Affiliations

Copyright 1998 American Medical Association. All Rights Reserved. Applicable FARS/DFARS Restrictions Apply to Government Use.1998

JAMA. 1998;280(8):697-699. doi:10-1001/pubs.JAMA-ISSN-0098-7484-280-8-jbk0826

To the Editor.—Dr Jadad and Ms Gagliardi1 present 3 basic questions regarding rating health information on Web sites: First, is it desirable to have user-friendly tools to evaluate relevant health information on the Internet? Second, is it even possible to evaluate the information? And third, do Web site rating systems (the instruments of measure evaluated in the review) lead to more good than harm for consumers and health professionals? The answers to these questions are likely to be: yes (desirable), yes (possible), and neither (neither good nor harmful). In my experience, the effect of assigning 3 stars or 4 oranges or 2 thumbs-up to a Web sites is negligible.

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