HON Foundation is a non-governmental organisation offering to Internet users reliable and trustworthy information through more than 5,000 accredited medical and health web sites according to the HON Code of Conduct (HONcode).
Shark cartilage to cure cancer! With four billion pages devoted to health information on the Internet, no wonder to find this kind of news. But there is a reliable mean to verify health and medical information: The Health On the Net Foundation (HON). HON officially went live in May 1996 under the impetus of Mr Guy-Olivier Segond, former Geneva State Councilor, and expert like Professor Jean-Raoul Scherrer, Dr Donald B. Lindberg, Mr Michel Carpentier, Professor Denis Hochstrasser, Professor Ron D. Appel and Mr Jean-Claude Peterschmitt. HON is a non-for-profit and private Swiss foundation, supported by the Geneva Economic and Health Department, the European Union and collaborating closely with the Geneva University Hospitals (Prof. Antoine Geissbühler, Head of the Medical Informatics Division, is HON’s President).
More than 5,000 accredited web sites
Today, the HONcode has already been adopted by nearly 5,000 sites, representing 72 countries, among many others MedlinePlus, Pubmed, Orphanet, etc. "We have been constantly progressing for ten years. Million of pages have already been accredited by HON covering all kind of diseases", says HON’s Executive Director, who is surrounded by a team of ten people, including three data processing specialists, two MDs, a surgeon, a pharmacist and a doctor in biology.
Collaboration with the European Union and others
HON is also very active in presenting its researches at an international academic level and collaborates in several projects of the European Union (WRAPIN project of automatic identification of the reliability of medical and health documents). HON works with Google to help annotate websites for health-related searches. These labels appear at the top of Google search results for relevant search queries. “Our strong expertise in this area gave us the opportunity to help make health information easier for people to find.” adds Celia Boyer. On a more regional level, the foundation created for citizens living in the French speaking part of Switzerland a catalogue of selected trustworthy health resources (http://www.santeromande.ch/) offering reliable and quality information on a disease, on where to find an association, a health professional or a hospital, on current medical news, etc.
Translated by HON from “Health on the Net se porte bien” by Giuseppe Costa, published in Pulsations by the Geneva University Hospital, freely distributed, edition of 30’000 copies.