A model for online consumer health information quality

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Abstract

This article describes a model for online consumer health information consisting of five quality criteria constructs. These constructs are grounded in empirical data from the perspectives of the three main sources in the communication process: health information providers, consumers, and intermediaries, such as Web directory creators and librarians, who assist consumers in finding healthcare information. The article also defines five constructs of Web page structural markers that could be used in information quality evaluation and maps these markers to the quality criteria. Findings from correlation analysis and multinomial logistic tests indicate that use of the structural markers depended significantly on the type of Web page and type of information provider. The findings suggest the need to define genre-specific templates for quality evaluation and the need to develop models for an automatic genre-based classification of health information Web pages. In addition, the study showed that consumers may lack the motivation or literacy skills to evaluate the information quality of health Web pages, which suggests the need to develop accessible automatic information quality evaluation tools and ontologies.

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