Evaluating a Website for Credibility – MedlinePlus Website

Introduction

The selected website to be evaluated is MedlinePlus website. MediPlus is web site owned by the National Institutes of Health which is created for patients as well as their friends and families. It site is created by the National Library of Medicine (NLM) which is the biggest medical library in the world. The site gives information regarding wellness issues, conditions, and diseases in simple language that a layman can understand. The site can be used to find supplement or drug information, learn more on latest treatments, view medical illustrations and videos, and find words meanings. It can also be used to obtain links on the most current medical research and clinical trials on condition or diseases. The site provides current and authoritative information for both the consumers and health professionals.

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The website was located using google search engine. It was identified after searching the following terms “Healthcare organization in the United States,” and it was displayed in the fourth position. The domain name for the selected website is “.gov “, which clearly indicate this is a government owned site and thus, very credible and reliable. This website is selected because is one of the most popular healthcare website in the world. The site has been constantly been used by people all over the world to access medical information, to investigate their symptoms, possible cause and possible treatment. Having a huge number of people depending on it for their health and wellbeing, it was necessary to evaluate the site credibility for healthcare related information. The site’s URL is https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/organizations/all_organizations.html an address that takes a researcher or user to the homepage of the site where all other required information can be accessed.

Website Analysis

MediPlus is a government based healthcare website, dedicated in providing reliable, credible, current and authoritative healthcare information. The site obtains its information from reliable sources which are officially credited by the American Medical care organizations. The site is managed by the national institution of health and produced by the national library of health. Thus, the information is well selected and sieved to ensure that only the most reliable information is provided and that the information is provided in a rightful manner that is digestible by all users despite of their lack of medical health related knowledge and skills. In this regard, the site can be regarded to be highly authoritative.

The site contains extensive information on healthcare management. It contains wide information sourced from National Institutes of Health among other trusted sources and contains more than 950 conditions and diseases. It incorporate medical dictionary, medical encyclopedia, directories, Spanish written health information, wide information on nonprescription and prescription drugs, links to a huge number of clinical trials and health information originating from the media. This information is provided either in systematic writing or in videos. The site focuses on a certain condition from definition of the condition, symptoms, causes, risk factors, treatment, treatment side effects among other important disease or condition related information. Thus, the site can highly act as a good source of healthcare organization (MedlinePlus, 2015).

The site main objective is to provide healthcare information to patients with intention of enhancing personal care. The site sticks to its objective by providing a wide range of information on different medical condition and ensuring regular update to ensure the information is viable at all time. It also provide this information in simple language which is understandable to many Americans and other individuals in the world. 

The site has a menu bar where one can easily select the three major category of information provided by the site. They include videos and tools, drugs and supplements, and health topics. Information is arranged in alphabetical order and thus, this makes it easy for the users to search for any needed information, especially when the user knows what she or he wants to know. Site also has a search tool that allows users to type what they want to know and the tool sieves the information for them to make the search easier. All this makes the site navigation easier.

This is a public website, and thus, it does not collect any personal information. The site only keeps information on the IP address to be able to analyze on the extent to which the site is used in different parts of the world. Other collected information include page visited, date and time and word search among other information that can direct on the use of the site. Any personal contact information provided is only used to respond to the user question. The government which is responsible of maintaining the site ensures the site availability and other security aspect such as data confidentiality and integrity. The site is highly monitored to eliminate chances of any form of security attack. Thus, individual security and privacy is highly maintained.

Website Credibility

There are different aspects employed to evaluate the credibility of the site. According to Miller  et al.  (2010), credible site is measured based on the sources of information, information from well-educated individuals and from professional sources such as encyclopedia, journals, and research centers are regarded to be more credible. In addition, the site controller, where site controlled by institutions are considered to be more credible than others. The site authority, disclosure, objectivity and currency are also used to determine the site credibility. In this case, the site source its information from credible healthcare information sources that include medical dictionary, medical encyclopedia, and directories. The site is controlled by the national library of medicine institution, and it is has been found to be authoritative, highly updated and objective and thus this site is credible. Other aspects to consider include the site topic, context, privacy policies and security and also the usability (Adelaide, 2014). In this case, the site topic fits the content since it gives extra information on medical health. The site avoid advertisements which could easily change the site medical environment. The site privacy and security policy ensures that the site is well protected and individual information is not used maliciously for destruction. Thus, the site can be regarded as credible based on these criteria.

Website Information Evaluation

Website information need to be evaluated for a number of reasons. Information should be evaluated to ensure that it is accurate and that it is not misleading especially in this case where life of humans are at stake. Evaluation ensures that the information in the site is credible and reliable. The information in this site can be used by nurses for specific purposes. This include guiding patients, families and friends on the right homecare to be given to a patient, to learn more about new clinical trials ad their results, and finally to improve their skills and knowledge regarding patient care especially in chronic disease care provision.

Summary

MedlinePlus is a credible healthcare site that provide extensive information on drugs, supplements, diseases and wellness to patients, families, and friends and also to all other healthcare professionals. The site controlled by the governmental organization which is responsible of sourcing credible information and updating this information on daily basis. The site is well structure, easy to navigate, authoritative, subjective and has employ considerable security and privacy policies. Thus the site is highly commendable to all its users.

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