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Keywords:

  • internet;
  • webliography;
  • medication information;
  • prescription drug information

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 (http://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.