BRIEF REPORT: Development of a Prescription Medication Information Webliography for Consumers

Authors

  • Yu Ko MS,

    1. Center for Education and Research on Therapeutics, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ, USA
    2. Department of Communication, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ, USA
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  • Mary Brown PhD,

    1. Center for Education and Research on Therapeutics, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ, USA
    2. Department of Communication, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ, USA
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  • Rowan Frost BS,

    1. Center for Education and Research on Therapeutics, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ, USA
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  • Raymond L. Woosley MD, PhD

    1. Center for Education and Research on Therapeutics, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ, USA
    2. The Critical Path Institute, Tucson, AZ, USA.
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  • No conflicts of interest to declare.

  • An abstract of earlier related research has been presented at the American Pharmacists Association (APhA) Annual Meeting & Exposition, April 4, 2005, Orlando, FL, and was published in the Journal of the American Pharmacists Association 2005;45(2):269.

Address correspondence and requests for reprints to Dr. Brown: PO Box 245046, Tucson, AZ 85724 (e-mail: mbrown@email.arizona.edu).

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 (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.

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