Shortcomings of health information on the Internet

Health Promot Int. 2003 Dec;18(4):381-6. doi: 10.1093/heapro/dag409.


Disseminating health and medical information on the Internet can improve knowledge transfer from health professionals to the population, and help individuals to maintain and improve their health. There are currently several medical information websites that directly target the general population with the aim of providing information about health problems, self-care and prevention. However, this new technology also hides several shortcomings, such as: (i) uneven quality of medical information available on the Internet; (ii) difficulties in finding, understanding and using this information; (iii) lack of access for the unconnected population; and (iv) the potential for harm and risks of over-consumption. To be able to overcome these dangers, it is important that public health practitioners and health professionals be involved in the design, dissemination and evaluation of Web-based health and medical information.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Health Education*
  • Humans
  • Internet*