Brief Report: Development of a Prescription Medication Information Webliography for Consumers

J Gen Intern Med. 2006 Dec;21(12):1313-6. doi: 10.1111/j.1525-1497.2006.00620.x. Epub 2006 Sep 25.

Abstract

Background: Websites offering drug information vary in coverage and quality, and most health care consumers are poorly equipped to assess the quality of internet medication information.

Objective: To establish a webliography of recommended prescription medication information websites for health care consumers and providers.

Design and methods: Drug information websites were systematically identified based on recommendations from health professionals and text-word searches of MEDLINE and Google. The resulting sample of websites was evaluated in a 2-step process. Candidate websites were first screened using inclusion/exclusion criteria representing minimum information requirements. Websites that passed the inclusion/exclusion criteria were then rated on 16 quality criteria using a 5-point scale by 3 trained judges. Website ratings were averaged, then multiplied by the corresponding importance weight of each criterion and summed to generate a total score. Websites with the highest total scores were included in the webliography.

Results: Ten websites were selected for inclusion in the webliography. The 3 highest-scoring websites were Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield (http://home.anthemhealth.com/topic/drugcenter), U.S. National Library of Medicine (https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginformation.html), and Healthvision (http://www.yourhealthinformation.com/library/healthguide/en-us/drugguide/default.htm).

Conclusion: Medication information websites vary widely in quality and content. The online webliography is a valuable and easily accessed tool that can be recommended by health care professionals to patients who request referral to reliable websites.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Blue Cross Blue Shield Insurance Plans
  • Drug Information Services / standards*
  • Humans
  • Internet*
  • National Library of Medicine (U.S.)
  • United States