Healthwise, an Idaho-based health information content provider, wrote the following letter to WebWatch regarding our most recent ratings of the 20 most-trafficked health information sites. Healthwise provides content to some of the sites, so therefore was not subject to a rating. Follow the link to read the whole letter, published here unedited, as we publish all our letters.
September 6, 2007
Dear Mr. Brendler,
Thank you for the opportunity to comment on the recent Health Web Site Ratings project.
For 33 years the nonprofit mission of Healthwise has been to help people make better health decisions, so we applaud your efforts to help consumers choose credible and helpful information on the Web.
I understand that your goal was to rate each Web site, and not the content providers. I am hopeful, though, that this may be an opportunity for consumers to learn that there can be multiple content providers at health Web sites, and therefore variability in terms of editorial practices.
Perhaps in the future your methodology could reflect greater consistency in your reviews and comments about each Web site's content. For example, rather than write, "Raters were unable to find editorial policies and procedures," perhaps say (if true, of course) that "Editorial policies and procedures were available from some content providers, such as CONTENT PROVIDER NAME(S), but not from others, such as NAME(S)." This level of specificity was provided in some of the reviewer comments, but not all. The inconsistency may be misleading to consumers.
All of us at Healthwise are solely focused on helping people make better health decisions. We follow a rigorous content development and update process, including medical review. The Healthwise Knowledgebase includes in-depth, decision-focused and action-oriented information on more than 8,000 topics. We make transparent to consumers the information that we believe helps them determine the value of our materials---editorial policies, author and reviewer information, reference citations, last-update dates, a comment process, and more.
Again, thank you for your efforts to educate consumers, and for the opportunity to comment.
Karen Baker, MHS
Senior Vice President