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Looking for reliable health information ?
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imageYou are among millions of people worldwide who seek health information on the Internet. There are thousands of websites offering health information to meet this need. However, as you probably know, all websites are not equally reliable and do not all provide quality information.

The HONcode is the oldest and most reliable code of ethics and quality for health and medical information on the Internet.

By following the principles which comprise the HONcode, look for the following information on a website:

1. The qualifications of authors of health information
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2. Complementarity: To complement and not to replace the doctor-patient relationship.
The mission and target audience of the site
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3. The privacy policy for personal information submitted by site visitors
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4. The source(s) of the health information provided and the dates of publication / last update on the pages with health information
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5. The justifications for claims about the benefits and disadvantages of products, treatments or services.
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6. The accessibility of information, identification of the webmaster, the availability of at least one contact address
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7. Sources of funding of the site
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8. The separation between the advertising and editorial content

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To guide you in applying these 8 principles, the Health On the Net Foundation provides you with tools to assess the reliability and quality of a website.


Here are some recommendations to follow

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Sources
source
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  • Choose sites created by your government or recognized institutions (public hospitals, universities, ...). They generally exist only for your benefit and contain extensive information and reliable advice.

  • Ask your doctor to suggest some reliable health sites

  • Check the WRAPIN tool, to compare different sources of medical information.

  • Use the verification form to check whether a website complies with the 8 HONcode principles. Perform a search in the database of certified sites with our search engine, HONcodeHunt.

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References
référence
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  • Check the source of the information (who has written the health information? Is this person qualified to give such information? If he/she is not, have the sources used to create this information been clearly stated? Are these data sources recognized scientific journals). You can use WRAPIN.

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Privacy
vie privée
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  • Check the privacy policy of sites you visit to see if information is collected during your visit and how your personal information is treated (some sites send your email to their partners).

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HONcode Seal
HONcode
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  • imageMany sites display confidence and reliability through the HONcode seal and certification by the Health On the Net Foundation (HON), an internationally recognized organization. This certification attests that the site complies with the HONcode principles of author transparency, organization, funding, privacy policy, being up to date, honest about the advertising and have clearly distinguished between the advertising and editorial content. Always check the certificate of these sites by clicking on the HONcode seal and use HONcode Hunt to search among the certified sites.

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Certificate
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  • Instantly verify whether the website which you are visiting is or is not certified by the HONcode by using the free HONcode Toolbar :

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Vigilance
iamge
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  • Always be careful, DO NOT TRUST any promises of miracle treatments, magical drugs or any other statements that are not supported by evidence.

  • Try to avoid purchasing medicines/drugs via the Internet. If you are buying online medications, make sure your national laws allow it. The more reliable internet pharmaceutical websites may have a 'bricks and mortar' outlet(s) as well, access to qualified pharmacists for any questions you may have, their registration number provided, maybe members of the national pharmaceutical association or some other recognized pharmaceutical body.

  • NEVER take the information found on the Internet, in a textbook or anywhere else, as medical advice. Only a healthcare professional is able to give you a personalized health care advice which is tailored to your needs.

  • Medical advice: Do not trust online consultations. It is prohibited in some countries such as France, Germany. Only a doctor can give you personal advice on your testing results during a medical consultation. Check it out before making a decision about your health.

  • Also use your critical sense. Remember that a site can change from one day to another and HON can not verify all the changes.

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Inform us of non-compliance
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  • In addition, the Health On the Net Foundation provides a complaints system, in case of non compliance with the principles or misuse of the HONcode logo. This system is accessible by anyone, from the HONcode certificate.

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HON is the official certifying body for French health websites appointed by the French National Authority for Health (http://www.hon.ch/HONcode/HAS/rapport_activite.html). This collaboration has been motivated by a French legislative bill on the health insurance passed on the 13th August 2004 . This bill requested that French health web sites be certified to ensure their reliability and trustworthiness.




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