The Health On the Net Code of Conduct for medical and health Websites

Comput Biol Med. 1998 Sep;28(5):603-10. doi: 10.1016/s0010-4825(98)00037-7.


Internet has become one of the most used communication media. This and the fact that no constraining information publishing policy exists have created an urgent need to control the quality of information circulating through this media. To this purpose, the Health On the Net Foundation has initiated the Code of Conduct (HONcode) for the health/medical domain. This initiative proposes guidelines to information providers, with the aim, on the one hand, of raising the quality of data available on the Net and, on the other hand, of helping to identify Internet sites that are maintained by qualified people and contain reliable data. The HONcode mainly includes the following ethical aspects: the author's credentials, the date of the last modification with respect to clinical documents, confidentiality of data, source data reference, funding and the advertising policy. This article presents the HONcode and its evolution since it was launched in 1996.

MeSH terms

  • Advertising
  • Confidentiality
  • Credentialing
  • Ethics, Medical*
  • Ethics, Professional*
  • Financial Support
  • Guidelines as Topic
  • Humans
  • Internet / standards*
  • Medical Informatics / standards
  • Policy Making
  • Publishing / standards
  • Quality Control
  • Telemedicine / standards