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May 22/29, 2002

Health Information on the Internet: Quality Issues and International Initiatives

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Internet Healthcare Coalition and eHealth Research & Development, Brighton, England (Dr Risk); Division of Communications, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn (Ms Petersen).

JAMA. 2002;287(20):2713-2715. doi:10.1001/jama.287.20.2713

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.

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