From intermediation to disintermediation and apomediation: new models for consumers to access and assess the credibility of health information in the age of Web2.0

Stud Health Technol Inform. 2007;129(Pt 1):162-6.


This theoretical paper discusses the model that, as a result of the social process of disintermediation enabled by digital media, traditional intermediaries are replaced by what this author calls apomediaries, which are tools and peers standing by to guide consumers to trustworthy information, or adding credibility to information. For apomediation to be an attractive and successful model for consumers, the recipient has to reach a certain degree of maturity and autonomy. Different degrees of autonomy may explain differences in information seeking and credibility appraisal behaviours. It is hypothesized that in an apomediated environment, tools, influential peers and opinion leaders are the primary conveyors of trust and credibility. In this environment, apomediary credibility may become equally or more important than source credibility or even message credibility. It is suggested to use tools of network analysis to study the dynamics of apomediary credibility in a networked digital world. There are practical implications of the apomediation model for developers of consumer health websites which aspire to come across as "credible: Consumers need and want to be able to be co-creators of content, not merely be an audience who is broadcasted to. Web2.0 technology enables such sites. Engaging and credible Web sites are about building community and communities are built upon personal and social needs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Health Education / standards
  • Humans
  • Information Storage and Retrieval / methods*
  • Information Storage and Retrieval / standards
  • Internet / standards
  • Medical Informatics / standards