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Table 2 Websites excluded because they are not explicitly based on systematic reviewsa

From: Who can you trust? A review of free online sources of “trustworthy” information about treatment effects for patients and the public

Website Statements about how the information is prepared
Better Health Channel
"We provide health and medical information to improve the health and wellbeing of people and the communities they live in. This information is:
 • quality-assured and reliable
 • up-to-date
 • locally relevant
 • easy to understand."
“We use a rigorous quality assurance and approval process to develop and review our content, including consultation and input from subject matter experts, overview by the BHC Editorial team and referral to other areas of the Victorian Department of Health as required. Our content partners are subject matter experts from a wide range of reputable Australian health, medical and academic organisations.”
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - Diseases & Conditions
Content source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Page maintained by: Office of Associate Director of Communication, Division of Public Affairs
There are also sections on Healthy Living and Travellers’ Health.
No information is provided about how the information is prepared.
Clear Health from NIH
"Clear Health from NIH
Easy, accessible information and more...
If you or someone close to you has received a recent diagnosis, or if you are curious because you heard about a disease, disorder, or condition on the news or from friends and want a good place to find the basic information you are looking for, this is a good place to get started …"
No information is provided about how the information is prepared.
Cleveland Clinic, Health Library
“Access thousands of health articles, videos and tools to help manage your health”
No information is provided about how the information is prepared.
Derby Teaching Hospitals, NHS, Patient information publications,
“In this area you will be able to access our patient information publications on a range of conditions, procedures and services.”
No information is provided about how the information is prepared.
Government of Canada
“Find information, tools and facts about symptoms, risks and how to prevent, treat and manage human diseases and illnesses.”
No information is provided about how the information is prepared.
East and North Hertfordshire, NHS, Patient information leaflets
“Our patient information leaflets are not meant to replace the information, advice and support provided to you by our staff but they may help answer some of your questions or help you think about questions you would like to ask your doctor or nurse”
No information is provided about how the information is prepared. is the AAFP’s [American Academy of Family Physicians] award-winning consumer website, featuring physician-reviewed patient education materials, that includes care for the physical, mental, and emotional health of the whole family from newborns to older adults.”
“Content is created by family doctors or professional writers/editors/producers who have relevant experience developing health content for patients.”
"Content is reviewed by a medical review panel of family doctors to ensure that the information:
 • Is medically accurate, complete, and useful
 • Adheres to the best available evidence-based medicine, as well as AAFP policies and clinical practice guidelines
 • Expresses a family medicine perspective"
Health A-Z
“The Health A-Z is an online database of over 600 health conditions and treatments that will support everyone living in Ireland to be well informed about their health, and that of their loved ones. The Health A-Z has been developed by the HSE’s National Clinical Programmes based on content shared by the NHS in the UK.”
“NHS Choices provides open public access to a wide range of UK health information and services. NHS Choices have generously provided the baseline content used in our Health A-Z without cost to the Irish health service.”
“The healthdirect team delivers comprehensive content that is clinically safe, appropriate, current and accessible, easy to understand and digest, engaging, and visually appealing.”
"healthdirect editorial oversight occurs at two levels:
 1. Strategic development of new services and features is managed by the Healthdirect Australia Digital Services team to ensure usability and overall quality of the website and its content.
 2. Content development is overseen by the Clinical Governance team to ensure all health and clinical related content is safe, appropriate and current."
“A large proportion of healthdirect’s content is comprised of links to quality information on partner websites.”
“In addition to providing links to quality information on partner websites, our in-house team of health professionals, journalists and content producers create and publish our own locally-developed content. This content is reviewed for clinical accuracy every 1–4 years, depending on subject matter, and ‘Last reviewed’ dates are clearly stated on individual pages.”
“You can depend on us to provide expert content”
“Healthline’s medical reviewers ensure that our content is accurate, current, and user-focused. Along with extensive experience in a variety of medical specialties, they bring added perspective due to their backgrounds in clinical practice, research, and patient advocacy.”
“In this section, there are information topics about some of the most common health concerns, so it is easy for you to find what you are looking for as quickly as possible.”
“Our website provides medically-approved information on more than 5000 health and nutrition topics, symptoms, and interactive health tools and tips for maintaining a healthy lifestyle.”
“The content on our website is created, reviewed, and updated by a variety of sources. This includes subject matter experts across the province, service providers, our internal clinical team, our team of registered dietitians, and our knowledgebase supplier Healthwise®.”
Health Navigator
“we go to great lengths to ensure our website provides you with the reliable, New Zealand-focused health information you are seeking.”
“The quality of information on the internet is highly variable. One of the key goals of this website is to make it easier for you to find trustworthy and reliable health information. As well as writing our own content, we link to existing resources from other reputable organisations.”
“Evidence bases – where possible information is based on evidence-based clinical and self management guidelines, or where these do not exist, on best or promising practice”
Mayo Clinic Patient Care and Health Information
“After the team agrees on the topic of a content piece, our writers, assisted by editorial researchers, gather best-available source materials for the topic. Best-available source materials vary by topic and may include published medical literature, evidence-based guidelines, or a Mayo Clinic physician or scientist who has distinct interest, training and expertise in the topic.”
“The team follows a standardized procedure for selecting, documenting and verifying best-available medical literature, and storing references.”
“MedlinePlus is the National Institutes of Health’s Web site for patients and their families and friends. Produced by the National Library of Medicine, the world’s largest medical library, it brings you information about diseases, conditions, and wellness issues in language you can understand. MedlinePlus offers reliable, up-to-date health information, anytime, anywhere, for free.”
"MedlinePlus is designed to help you find appropriate, authoritative health information. To do this, we provide access to information produced by the National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health, such as searches of MEDLINE/PubMed, our database that indexes medical research literature, and, the database of clinical research studies conducted at the National Institutes of Health and many other institutions worldwide. We also provide you with a database of full-text drug and supplement information, an illustrated medical encyclopedia, a medical dictionary, and the latest health news.
In addition, MedlinePlus contains pages that link to other Web sites. For example, we have Health Topic pages for over 1000 diseases and conditions from Alzheimer’s Disease to Zika Virus. We focus on organizing publications produced by the NIH Institutes and other Federal Government organizations. We also link to other Web sites, particularly ones with unique information or special features such as diagrams, glossaries, or format tailored to particular user needs."
“This site was built by the Alberta Gove​rnment and Alberta Health Services to give Albertans one place to go for health information they can trust. Healthcare experts across the province make sure the information is correct, up to date, and written for people who live in Alberta.”
“Content Written by Healthwise: Healthwise develops content through the collaborative efforts of content and medical teams using a comprehensive research and review process.”
"The Healthwise® Knowledgebase contains thousands of unique references to help readers find more information on topics. Our processes and policies ensure that entry points of content give readers reasonable access to references. We include citations that:
 • Support statistics, particularly those that play a key role in decision making.
 • Support outcomes, effectiveness, or risk data.
 • Identify testing or treatment recommendations or guidelines.
 • Support prevalence data."
NHS Choices
“The evidence-based knowledge that informs all NHS Choices content is derived from peer-reviewed scientific research and from the direct experience of clinicians, other health professionals, patients and the wider public.
In pulling together this knowledge to provide users with a rounded and balanced package of material on a particular subject, NHS Choices requires its journalists to consult the following resources:
For peer-reviewed scientific research, they consult NHS Evidence, which has developed a system for accrediting and classifying different types of research evidence with respect to its quality.”
NHS inform
“NHS inform is Scotland’s national health information service.
Our aim is to provide the people in Scotland with accurate and relevant information to help them make informed decisions about their own health and the health of the people they care for.”
“All of the websites linked to from NHS inform have passed our quality assurance process.
We use a range of criteria to decide if a website is suitable for inclusion, including if it’s:
 • free to access without a need to login or register
 • relevant to a Scottish audience
 • evidence based
 • updated every 12 months”
“We know how important it is to create original content that reflects the healthcare needs of the Scottish population. To help us with this, we work with individuals, groups and organisations from different areas of health and social care policy and practice in Scotland to:
 • identify requirements
 • coordinate information gathering and production
 • provide fact checking and sign-off
 • agree governance arrangements”
NPS Medicinewise - Medical Info
“Evidence-based resources, insights and information to improve the health of all Australians.”
What we do
“We provide guidance and direction on the safe and wise use of medicines and health technologies so that people stay healthier and the cost of care remains affordable.
We connect and deliver meaningful information for health consumers, health professionals, government, research and other businesses to enable the best decisions about medicines, health technologies and other health choices for better health and economic outcomes. Evidence-based information is transformed into behaviour change services, digital health and data insights and knowledge transfer products.”
How we do it
“We work synergistically and in partnership with peak health organisations and government, connecting health consumers and health professionals with evidence-based resources and tools to improve the health of all Australians.
We connect people with our behaviour change services, digital health and data insights and knowledge transfer products, and our work is rigorously evaluated to demonstrate impact and inform continuous improvement. We believe that well-informed health professionals and a health-savvy population are key to achieving better health and economic outcomes.”
“Patient is the web’s leading independent health platform, established for 20 years. With more than 18 million visits a month, it is a trusted source of information for both patients and health professionals across the globe.
The site contains over 4000 health information leaflets and thousands of discussion forums. It is accredited by The Information Standard, NHS England’s quality mark and was listed as ‘The top health website you can’t live without’ by The Times newspaper (Jan 2013).”
“The editorial team are employed to create accurate and up-to-date content reflecting reliable research evidence, guidance and best clinical practice.”
Patient Information
“Annals of Internal Medicine’s “Summaries for Patients”
“Summaries for Patients” are brief, non-technical summaries of studies and clinical guidelines published in Annals of Internal Medicine. The Summaries aim to explain these published articles to people who are not health care providers.”
Annals of Internal Medicine’s “Patient Information Pages”
““Patient Information Pages” provide general information for the public about a common health condition. Patient Information Pages accompany each of Annals’ monthly In the Clinic feature. The pages include information about other sources for good information about the condition.”
Patient Information
“Explore the latest patient information from The JAMA Network, including easy-to-understand information about prevention and management of common illnesses.”
No information is provided about how the information is prepared.
Penn Medicine, Patient Information, Conditions (A-Z)
No information is provided about how the information is prepared.
“The content that we produce and the news that we feature is determined by our staff of physicians and medical journalists. It contains the latest information from reliable sources including the most important peer-reviewed medical journals, announcements from federal health agencies, and analyses on the latest health trends. Our experienced health reporters talk daily with prominent medical leaders, providing in-depth analyses, updates, and profiles that give our health news and content a perspective found nowhere else. Every original article is reviewed by our staff of full-time, board-certified physician editors.”
“The English-language Wikipedia was estimated in 2014 to hold around 25,000 articles on health-related topics [3]. Across Wikipedia encyclopedias in all languages there were 155,000 health articles using 950,000 citations to sources and which collectively received 4.8 billion pageviews in 2013 [4]. This amount of traffic makes Wikipedia one of the most consulted health resources in the world, or perhaps the most consulted resource [4]”
“A collaboration between Cochrane and Wikipedia provides access to the Cochrane Library for the purposes of incorporating their review information into Wikipedia articles.”
“Ideal sources for biomedical assertions include general or systematic reviews in reliable, third-party, published sources, such as reputable medical journals, widely recognised standard textbooks written by experts in a field, or medical guidelines and position statements from nationally or internationally reputable expert bodies. It is vital that the biomedical information in all types of articles be based on reliable, third-party, published sources and accurately reflect current medical knowledge.”
  1. aThese websites were excluded because they do not include a description of how information is prepared that includes a statement about using or being based on systematic reviews of research evidence. It is unclear to what extent information about treatment effects on these websites is based on systematic reviews