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GATOR approach can help surfers to evaluate Web-based health information
Date:5/25/2010

ine. That's why we've developed the acronym, to help patients to find and evaluate health information while avoiding the negative consequences from trying unsafe recommendations drawn from untrustworthy sites."

The GATOR acronym short for alligator provides a reminder of the dangers that people can face if they surf for health advice without sufficient safeguards in place.

G is for Genuine

How genuine and independent is the site? Some websites appear genuine, but are there solely to promote the sale of products that claim to enhance health and well-being or to cure disease. Check whether the goals, purpose or mission of the site are clearly stated and beware of web addresses that automatically redirect readers to another address.

A is for Accurate

It is often hard to tell how accurate a website is, which is why it is vital that patients stick to reputable and trusted websites and check any information they have found with their healthcare provider. For example, the researchers found simple searches could throw up millions of options.

T is for Trustworthy

Is the information true and is it reliable? Does the website say where the information they are publishing comes from? Do they quote references? Is the information on the site peer-reviewed by an expert in the field to make sure it is correct and up-to-date?

O is for Origin

Does the information originate from a reliable source? For example, most government, academic and healthcare organisations are managed by reliable sources providing up-to-date information. In contrast, a commercial company may present selected facts to sell their product. Can you contact the website for further information, clarification or verification?

R is for Readability

Is the information presented in a clear, concise way that average members of the public can understand? Patients may have difficulty in
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Contact: Annette Whibley
wizard.media@virgin.net
Wiley-Blackwell
Source:Eurekalert

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