EU Joins Standards Setting Movement with Publication of Quality Criteria

The European Commission has weighed in with its contribution to the growing body of standards and recommendations for online health and medical information. The document contains quality criteria for use by Member States, as well as public and private bodies, in the development of quality initiatives for health related web sites.

Recognizing the need to protect its citizens, as well as the global customers of its online sector, the European Commission has taken a clear position on the need to maintain high standards for online health information. The report stops short, however, of proposing an EU-wide implementation for quality criteria, judging this to be impractical for the moment.

HON participated actively in the development of the EU document, along with some sixty other delegations from government, industry, medical and consumers associations and academia. The result incorporates all eight principles of the HONcode condensed into six points with additional emphasis on accessibility, a hotly debated subject on both sides of the Atlantic. In effect, US Government requirements for domestic information providers may also influence decisions made in Europe.

Quality Criteria for Health related Websites
Critères de qualité applicables aux sites web consacrés à la santé
eEurope 2002: Qualitätskriterien für Websites zum Gesundheitswesen
Trust in health websites