Quality Guidelines

These guidelines will help you find websites that are reliable and trustworthy. These guidelines are informed by the Healthy People 2020 Health Communication and Health IT objectives that aim to increase the proportion of quality, health-related websites.

The goal of healthfinder.gov is to provide easy-to-understand health information and tools to help you and your loved ones stay healthy. To achieve this goal, we apply the following quality guidelines when developing the original content in Health Topics A to Z. When selecting the organizations and resources we link to, the healthfinder.gov team reviews and considers organizations and sponsored resources that meet the quality guidelines.

These guidelines can help you evaluate the quality of any website that offers health information. And remember, it’s always a good idea to check with your doctor or nurse about health information you’ve found online.

Website Reliability Guidelines

The names of the site developers, sponsors, partners, and funding sources are clearly noted.

  • The site offers a description of the organization, such as being a 501c3 non-profit association. If an organization does not clearly state its status on its website, it is prepared to provide this information if requested by the public.
  • The mission of the sponsoring organization supports the goal of healthfinder.gov.
  • The organization welcomes and responds to public questions and comments via email or another method.

The purpose of the site and its intended audiences are clearly stated.

  • healthfinder.gov links to sites designed to educate consumers on how to prevent illness and stay healthy.
  • The site provides easy access to free information that meets the interests and needs of consumers. A membership is not required to access information.

“Advertisement” labels clearly identify and separate ads from health information.

  • healthfinder.gov may link to a resource sponsored by an organization that accepts advertisements on its site — as long as the actual resource is ad-free
  • Ads are relevant to the site’s purpose and intended audience. Ads do not contradict or undermine healthfinder’s goal or the organization’s mission.
  • The organization has an advertising policy that defines acceptable ads and prohibits advertisers and sponsors from collecting any personally identifiable information from healthfinder.gov visitors. Advertisers and sponsors are not involved in developing and selecting health information for the site.
  • The site does not suggest or imply healthfinder.gov’s endorsement of its products or services.

The information is reliable and current.

  • Health information on the site is developed and/or reviewed by respected advisors or consultants with expertise in related health fields.
  • The original source(s) of health information are available on the site and reflect accurate and current thinking of the scientific community.
  • The site offers reliable and credible information that adheres to quality standards, such as Health on the Net Foundation Code of Conduct (HONcode).
  • “Last updated” and/or “last reviewed” date stamps are posted on the homepage, major entry points, and individual documents.

The site protects users’ personal information.

  • If a site collects personal information using email, forms, or surveys, it offers a privacy policy that explains how information collected from users remains private and confidential.

The site is well maintained.

  • The site is continually available to the public and offers email links to contact staff responsible for maintaining the site.
  • The site offers fresh and timely information. Links on the site (both internal links and links to other sites) are checked on a regular basis to avoid displaying broken links.
  • Content advisors, consultants, and/or a medical advisory board are available to answer questions about information offered on the site.

The site offers disclaimers and a linking policy.

  • A disclaimer states that the organization does not provide medical advice, recommend health care products or services, or control the information found on external websites.

Usability Guidelines

The site is easy to find and use.

  • The site is well organized, easy to navigate, and offers information that is easy to read and understand by intended audiences.
  • The design of the site considers technical requirements needed to reach a wide public audience, including individuals with disabilities.

The site is evaluated for customer satisfaction and usability.

  • The organization discloses if it evaluates the site to learn about the health information needs of intended audiences and improve its usefulness for promoting and improving health.

healthfinder.gov Checkup

View healthfinder.gov’s Quality Checkup to find out how we measure up to our own guidelines and where you can locate related information on our site. Email questions about our Quality Guidelines to healthfinder@hhs.gov.

Disclaimer — healthfinder.gov is an information and referral service only, and does not diagnose medical conditions, offer medical advice, or endorse specific products or services. Also, healthfinder.gov does not control the content of the websites or organizations listed on healthfinder.gov.