Example Of Evaluation Of A Website: Medline Plus Essay

Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Internet, Information, Website, Health, Medicine, Evaluation, Customers, Organization

Pages: 4

Words: 1100

Published: 2020/11/02

We live in a digitalized world whereby details about every single aspect of human life can be found by perusing through the internet. Health provision issues are not an exception with various online servers offering health-related resources. Websites and even social media have become important tools through which people get informed. According to NCCIH, the large amount of online sources pose a problem since some may be really helpful, but others may give inaccurate and misleading information that can have dire consequences to the health of users. It is, therefore, important for consumers to find trustworthy online sources that give medically sound information.
Ordinarily, the evaluation of any website looks into features such as the ease to which one can go through the website (navigation), the attractiveness of the site in terms of colors, photography and fonts and the ability of the site to provide the consumers with information they are looking for (Elling et al., 295). In health website evaluation though, it is important to go into specific details not ordinarily considered. The first important question is who runs the website. This can be easily established by looking at the letters at the end of the web address. “.gov” sites are run by the government and are usually very trustworthy. “.edu” are run by higher education institutions but the most reliable ones are those produced by the institution rather than those produced by individuals liaised to the institution. “.org” and “.com” websites are run by nonprofit organizations and commercial organizations respectively. These are the least reliable due to issues of bias, doing business and harboring other ulterior motives. Another important question is the purpose of the site. This can be easily seen from the statement of purpose by the site writers. The source of information the website posts is another key element to look into. This is important in order to deal with unfounded and misleading information. Various aspects of the information a website gives is key in its evaluation. First is the basis of the given information. Here, information with proof is most reliable. Another aspect is the panel or individuals who review the websites information. In this case, if the said information has been reviewed by professionals and respected people in that field, it can be trusted. One should also look out for up to date information on the website since the health sector is evolving fast with new discoveries made daily.
Another key aspect to consider is how the website handles personal information. Through its privacy policy, one can establish what the website intends to do with the required personal information (Elling et al., 296). Lastly, reliable websites have clear avenues through which the interaction between the site and users is maintained. This can be through online discussion forums or other social media tools such as Facebook and Twitter.
In evaluating a website certain features can be used to identify unreliable ones. First, if the website is concerned with selling a certain product, the reliability level drops. If it gives outdated information and exaggerated claims of what its products can do, one should also be cautious.
The website under review, in this case, is the MedlinePlus website that is sponsored by the National Library of Medicine. Its address is “medlineplus.gov”. This domain shows that it is government affiliated and thus can be trusted. According to the website, it has about 1000 health topics that are not only in English, but also in Spanish. This information is retrieved from an excess of 1000 medically oriented organization with the website offering about 35000 links to reliable heath authorities. (Medline Plus n.p) The website essentially offers medical information to its viewers and does no advertisements. Given this background, it is very helpful to me as a health practitioner since its non-commercial approach proves its credibility.
Medline Plus has a large pool of information from which consumers can search from. It first provides information about health in simple language that anyone can understand, information that comes along with various forms of tutorials with various forms of photography. It gives detailed information about drugs with special concern on over the counter prescription. The drug information also has sections touching on supplements and natural treatments.
The site also gives news in the health sector to keep the consumers in line with the current trends. The users can also make use of the medical dictionary and encyclopedia when doing research about different medical conditions. Medline Plus also keeps the users the ability to keep in touch with other health practicing entities by providing directories on where to find health services, organizations that deal with certain medical conditions and libraries that can offer a variety of health information.
On a lighter note, the website has a collection of games, puzzles and videos. These enable the users visualize the information offered while still boosting their knowledge on different medical aspects.
On the issue of being up to date, the site is very apt in updating. Links to various health topics are added daily, with existing topics updated and reviewed frequently. The dictionary was copy written as recent as 2014. On information about drugs and supplements, the site uses data from the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists which is updated each month. Information on herbs is updated quarterly while the tutorials used are updated each year. News about health issues are updated daily with the website’s medical encyclopedia being given updates monthly.
The Medline Plus website has a considerably friendly user interface. Here, the site offers an alphabetical order of various diseases and conditions. Various health topics are placed in groups that are easy to find for the user while a search option is also available to look for the specific item a consumer may be interested in. The MedlinePlus search feature also provides help in spelling in case the user doesn’t know how to correctly spell what they are checking.
The Medline Plus website offers the users other avenues through which they can keep interacting with the site and other medical practitioners. The site has a mobile version through which users can easily access the information. Social media tools such as Twitter and Facebook are available for users to make inquiries on various issues. The website also provides a directory where users can locate specified help for certain topics. Here, doctors, hospitals and other avenues where users can get medical help are shown.
In the current setup and market, MedlinePlus has had a positive response from users. In their survey in 2012, it was established that the site had about 60 million views monthly. Of the users, about 30% were patients with specific conditions while 20% were different health care providers. About 50% of the users used the site to find specific information on certain health issues. 15% used the site in search of certain drugs while a similar percentage made use of the site in order to get general information about health. (MedlinePlus n.p)
In conclusion, it can be seen that despite the site's attractiveness being questioned, the website offers deep information that can be helpful to both patients and professionals. As a health practitioner, I would make great use of MedlinePlus up to date information on various health issues. Through the other platforms such as Facebook YouTube and Twitter, I can keep interacting with the site even using my mobile phone. Given that the site is not commercially oriented; the information provided can be seen to be reliable. This notion is also supported by the credible sources of information that the website uses.

Works Cited

“About MedlinePlus”. Web. 7 Feb. 2015: <http://medlineplus.gov/aboutmedlineplus.html>
Benedetti J. “Evaluating Health Web Sites”. National Network of Libraries of Medicine. N.p., June 2013. Web. 7 Feb. 2015: <https://nnlm.gov/outreach/consumer/evalsite.html>
“Finding and Evaluating Online Resources on Complementary Health Approaches”. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. N.p., July 2013. Web. 7 Feb. 2015: <https://nccih.nih.gov/health/webresources>
Elling, Sanne, Leo Lentz, and Menno De Jong. "Website evaluation questionnaire: development of a research-based tool for evaluating informational websites." Electronic Government. Springer Berlin Heidelberg, 2007. 293-304.

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WePapers. (2020, November, 02) Example Of Evaluation Of A Website: Medline Plus Essay. Retrieved May 19, 2024, from https://www.wepapers.com/samples/example-of-evaluation-of-a-website-medline-plus-essay/
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