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Membership
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Why should I get the HONcode membership?

The HONcode membership is the oldest and most trusted quality code of conduct for health websites which has guided users to reliable health information for the past 18 years. Obtaining the HONcode membership not only provides multiple member benefits to the website but also increases the trustworthiness and thus, visibility of the website.

Several independent studies [1,2] have been conducted to evaluate the effects of the HONcode certification on a website and the conclusive result is that websites awarded the HONcode seal had significantly higher quality scores than those that did not have the logo.

Additionally, as a HONcode member, you will be part of an exclusive "quality information club" with access to a large network of quality information providers all over the world.

How it works?

When a website is first certified by the HONcode, it is considered as a new HONcode certification and it is valid for a period of a year. Following this, the website must be re-evaluated and recertified for continued HONcode certification. This is part of the engagement when the webmaster/editor of the site requests for certification and first submits his/her site for certification. This is communicated to the webmaster and consent is expressly obtained before the actual request for HONcode certification is placed.

One month before the HONcode certificate of a website expires, the webmaster will be contacted by the HON to remind him/her of the necessity of a re-assessment. The webmaster will then request an invoice from HON and will make the relevant payment. This payment contributes to the expenses raised by the re-assessment of a site by the HONcode expert team composed of a medical committee. Once payment has been received by HON, HON will have 4 weeks to conduct the initial review. The HON expert review team will carry out a detailed review on the website and a review report will be created with all the necessary changes that are required for continued HONcode compliance and communicated to the webmaster. The webmaster will then do the necessary changes and get back to HON. Another review will be carried out. In this manner, the expert review team will review the team, provide review reports, give guidance on what changes are required and exchange unlimited emails with the webmaster until his/her website is in full compliance. Only then will the HONcode certification be renewed.

Added value

HON helps you continuously to improve the reliability of your site by adhering to the HONcode. The services provided with the recertification include a dedicated email and telephone line, improved visibility through search box on the HONcode certificate, HON social media channels Facebook and Twitter and the HON website and customized paper HONcode certificate.

PLEASE NOTE: There is no conflict of interest with regards to the re-assessment process being a paid service. Payment for conducting the re-assessment process in no way guarantees the renewal of your HONcode certification. If the expert review team finds that your website is not fully HONcode compliant, you will be requested to make the necessary changes to make it compliant. Only after the website reaches full compliance with the HONcode will your HONcode certification be renewed.

Webmasters who choose not to make the payment will be listed in a directory of certified websites by year and the HONcode logo will be displayed in grey.

For more information

HON is a non-profit, nongovernmental organization, in special consultative status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations, and in official relation with WHO that promotes the dissemination of useful and reliable online health information.

HONcode was established by HON to help standardize the transparency of medical and health information available on the Internet. HONcode certification is granted to health-related websites that adhere to the eight HONcode principles, which include confidentiality and privacy of data, attribution of sources, financial disclosure of website contributors, and a clearly displayed advertising policy. HONcode-certified websites are reviewed periodically to ensure their ongoing compliance with HONcode ethical principles.

For the past eighteen years, HON has provided that set of rules called the HONcode and the HONcode certification of health websites. Since 1996, when HON was founded, the HONcode has progressively become the most widely used, most well-known and best trusted regulatory code of conduct for online health information. There are currently more than 7.4 million health related webpages worldwide which are HONcode certified and display the HONcode seal.

 

References:
[1]. Tavare, A. N., Alsafi, A., & Hamady, M. S. (2012). Analysis of the quality of information obtained about uterine artery embolization from the internet. Cardiovascular and interventional radiology, 35(6), 1355-1362.
[2]. Nason, G. J., Byrne, D. P., Noel, J., Moore, D., & Kiely, P. J. (2012). Scoliosis-Specific Information on the Internet: Has the “Information Highway” Led to Better Information Provision?. Spine, 37(21), E1364-E1369.

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