Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Consumer Health Information Quality

We usually write about the exchange of individual patient's information here at HealthInfoEx, but a recent article by R. Scott Braithwaite at New York University Medical Center, published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, brings up a very fine idea about the quality of consumer health information.  To help stem the tide of over-hyped scientific trivia passed off as "breakthrough in health care," Braithwaite suggests that medical journals  include a consumer rating scale.  He very reasonably suggests using the US Preventive Services Task Force quality of evidence scale as a template and has a number of clever ideas to encourage lay media outlets to use it.

Braithwaite is worried about blogs (which he refers to, with a bit of a sniff, as "gray literature") and fears they wouldn't play along. Perhaps the blog certification services, like the Health on the Net Foundation, should require it to earn their seal of approval. (HON puts HealthInfoEx through the wringer on a regular basis.)

Kudos to Scott Braithwaite for a good idea on a vexing problem!