Author Affiliations: Internet Healthcare Coalition and eHealth Research & Development, Brighton, England (Dr Risk); Division of Communications, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn (Ms Petersen).
With nearly 100 million US adults online and more than half of them
reportedly using the World Wide Web to access health-related content, the
Internet has undoubtedly become one of the most popular and frequently used
sources of medical information.1 As consumers
increasingly rely on the Web for answers to health queries large and small,
however, concern about the value of e-health information increases in the
medical community. In 1997 Impicciatore et al2
reported considerable variability in the accuracy and completeness of health
information on the Internet. A plethora of inaccurate and even potentially
life-threatening content readily accessible to anyone with a modem and an
Internet browser supports the validity of that concern. For instance, Crocco
et al3 reported that inaccurate Internet information
contributed to harm in a 1-year-old boy with diarrhea.
Risk A, Petersen C. Health Information on the InternetQuality Issues and International Initiatives. JAMA. 2002;287(20):2713-2715. doi:10.1001/jama.287.20.2713