What is health information quality? Ethical dimension and perception by users

Al-Jefri, Majed, Evans, Roger, Uchyigit, Gulden and Ghezzi, Pietro (2018) What is health information quality? Ethical dimension and perception by users. Frontiers in Medicine, 5 (260). pp. 1-10. ISSN 2296-858X

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Introduction. The popularity of seeking health information online makes information quality (IQ) a public health issue. The present study aims at building a theoretical framework of health information quality (HIQ) that can be applied to websites and defines which IQ criteria are important for a website to be trustworthy and meet users’ expectations.

Methods. We have identified a list of HIQ criteria from existing tools and assessment criteria and elaborated them into a questionnaire that was promoted via social media and mainly the University. Responses (329) were used to rank the different criteria for their importance in trusting a website and to identify patterns of criteria using hierarchical cluster analysis.

Results. HIQ criteria were organized in five dimensions based on previous theoretical frameworks as well as on how they cluster together in the questionnaire response. We could identify a top-ranking dimension (scientific completeness) that describes what the user is expecting to know from the websites (in particular: description of symptoms, treatments, side effects). Cluster analysis also identified a number of criteria borrowed from existing tools for assessing HIQ that could be subsumed to a broad “ethical” dimension (such as conflict of interests, privacy, advertising policies) that were, in general, ranked of low importance by the participants. Subgroup analysis revealed significant differences in the importance assigned to the various criteria based on gender, nationality and whether or not of a biomedical educational background.

Conclusions. We identified criteria of HIQ and organized them in dimensions. We observed that ethical criteria, while regarded highly in the academic and medical environment, are not considered highly by the public.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: health information, internet, information quality, public health
Schools and Departments: Brighton and Sussex Medical School > Brighton and Sussex Medical School
Brighton and Sussex Medical School > Clinical and Experimental Medicine
Subjects: R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine
Depositing User: Pietro Ghezzi
Date Deposited: 31 Aug 2018 11:06
Last Modified: 20 Sep 2018 10:40
URI: http://srodev.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/78410

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