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Methodology


The Internet is an unprecedented medium of free expression. It ignores national and cultural boundaries. Internet technologies are developing with bewildering speed. A single Web site can cover a vast array of unrelated subjects. Conventional print and audio-visual media leave a physical record, while net content is volatile: here today, gone tomorrow. For all these reasons and more,

  • There is no common legal framework for the provision of healthcare information on the Internet and other on-line services;

  • The Internet community itself has a record of stiff resistance to attempted government regulation;

  • Legislative bodies seem unable, if not unwilling, to address the dynamics of this global medium in a timely manner.

Webmasters and information providers can themselves apply the HONcode to set basic good standards for the presentation of healthcare advice and information. Of course, they are free to accept or reject it. But in formally submitting an application 1 for certification, they commit themselves strictly to observe all the HONcode principles. They are held to this commitment by the entire Internet community and through verification by the HON team.

Note :

  • The HON foundation certification focus only on human health online content.
  • Warning, websites concerning medical tourism can not apply for the certification.

 

What is the application process?
View the Guidelines for applicants and the Review Process

What the HONcode cannot do
The HONcode proposes benchmarks designed to make sure readers always know the source and purpose of the information they are reading.

It does not seek to rate the medical accuracy, validity or appropriateness of the information itself. There is no substitute for the person-to-person practice of medicine. The second HONcode principle clearly states that medical information on the Internet can support, but never replace, the relationship between patients and their care-providers.

Users of the medical Internet must themselves develop the knowledge and discernment necessary to avoid dubious Web sites. HON encourages users to practise caution and healthy scepticism. While the HONcode seal on sites should be a handy reference, we also recommend that users study a number of useful criteria and evaluation tools [2], [3], [4], [5].

Evolution

The HONcode is dynamic and has evolved from discussions with Webmasters, patient support groups and medical professionals in several countries. HON may incorporate additional principles and/or modifications, based upon constructive feedback from users and after consultation with all subscribing sites and the wider Internet community.

HON is very grateful for this valuable input. If you have a comment to make, please mail it to HON through this form.

Acknowledgement

We would like to thank the more than 7.300 sites that already adhere to the HONcode. The Health On the Net Foundation wholeheartedly supports the propagation of useful health and medical information on the Internet and greatly appreciates the considerable efforts made in this domain by many individuals and organisations around the world.

Note

Every display of the HONcode certified seal must be linked with a certification request. It is not agreed to display the seal before obtaining the HONcode certification. All webmasters using of the "HONcode Certified" seal without our permission and that is detected will be notified .


[1] HONcode membership application : http://www.hon.ch/HONcode/HONcode_membership.html
[2] HONcode Site-Checker: http://www.hon.ch/HONcode/HONcode_check.html
[3] : http://hitiweb.mitretek.org/iq/default.asp
[4] : http://www.discern.org.uk
[5] : http://www.quick.org.uk


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