Evaluating Websites for Credibility

The World Wide Web has become one of the most sought after sources of information for consumers since the mid 90’s for health education. They have leaned towards “the Web” in seeking information to help learn about details of different diseases, and in most cases help improve their health. As clinicians, we tend to use the Web as a tool to research current information on many health related topics. This is why it is very important for health educators and clinicians to be able to evaluate the websites being used by themselves and their patients for appropriateness of the website.

Today, I am going to critique and evaluate the website CTSNet. org for credibility. CTSNET. org is operated by CTSNet, Inc. who is a non-profit organization which is jointly created by a four different participating thoracic surgeon organizations. This website is governed by a Board of Directors which consists of medical professionals, and is managed by an editorial board that is comprised of representatives from each of the participating organizations.

CTSNET provides a clear mission statement which is to “advance education and collaboration in the global cardiothoracic surgical community through Internet resources. CTSNET provides multiple viable sources for them to be contacted with concerns, comments, and suggestions. Being that they are a not for profit organization, the website gains the majority of their funding from sponsorships through corporate partners. These sponsors are recognized upon three different levels, 1. Founding Sponsors, 2. Sustaining Sponsors, and 3. Contributing Sponsors. The website does allow for different companies to advertise which are clearly marked and very distinctive from the professional information.

Being able to advertise on the website promotes a win-win situation for both parties because; this allows the website to gain revenue while giving the advertisers a fast and efficient way to promote their products and services. When critiquing a website, one has to ask a few questions. 1: Does the website have authority? Yes, the CTSNet. org has authority. They have credible information that is researched and produced by current physicians that hold specialties in cardiothoracic surgery.

It provides up-to-date information on current techniques. For example, there is an article on Robotic Right Upper Lobectomy which provides current information on the resection of an early stage lung cancer patient using a Robot to provide a minimally invasive approach. According to the Ad Factor (2011), “If you were researching a subject, you would want to get information from someone who has experience in that area. A website that meets these requirements is said to be an ‘authority’ website in the subject area. ” CTSNet. rg provides information that is both accurate and current. One can believe by reviewing this website that the information provided reflects current reliable research, especially since the website was created in 1997 and is updated monthly. According to the Medical Library Association (2011), the currency is the number 2 guideline for content evaluation. They state, “The content should be updated frequently, and that the website should be consistently available, with the date of the latest revision clearly posted. ” CTSNET. rg does offer membership to all cardiothoracic surgeons, anesthesiologists, cardiologists, perfusionists, physician assistants, nurses, data managers, and all staff that support cardiothoracic surgery programs. According to CTSNet. org (2007), there were 34,421 members. Members and other professionals are allowed to present information; however, there are guidelines on submitting information to the website. Authors are encouraged to submit their information to the Cardiac Portal which is then reviewed by the Cardiac Portal Editors, and then either approved or denied to be published on the website.

As a member your personal information is protected by the privacy policy. They inform the member that once his or her personal information is given, it would not be shared with outside organizations unless the user consents otherwise. After looking over their privacy policy I feel that if I were a member, I would be comfortable in providing them my personal information. With the World Wide Web at its fastest, we are able to look and find many websites that offer information to aide in the care and well-being of the health struck individual.

As caregivers, we find that there is new information evolving at rapid paces. This information is what we may need and use to perform a task or enhance a skill. However, when using a website we need to be careful that the information is correct and up to date. According to Weaver, (1993), “information pertaining to the nursing profession is said to double every five years. (Weaver, 1993, p. 30). With the information changing at such a rapid pace, we as clinicians need to remain informed. The CTSNET. rg website provides the professional nurse with useful information as well as avenues to obtain and give information. For example, the website has a section of videos that the nurse could use in his or her educational process for a patient that is to have a certain procedure. This video section can also be beneficial for the nurse if he or she should need to re-familiarize with the surgical process. The website also has a section of journals which are current and can be used by the nurse to look up various articles to provide research evidence.

Finally, the website offers a safety reporting system which can be accessed by the nurse to present a vignette which describes potential errors or events that occurred which will be reviewed and commented on by a health care provider. By having this outlet, improving outcomes can be accomplished. In Conclusion, the World Wide Web can be a power tool for the professional as well as the novice who is anxious to find health information. The key is for the individual to be able to decipher the accuracy of information posted on each of the health related websites.

In evaluating the CTSNET. org website, I find this website to be a credible source of healthcare information where the purpose of the site is clearly stated and the information is accurate. The site is run by medical experts who are experienced in their fields. The advertising is clearly labeled and separate from the research information. The information is reviewed by a cardiac portal which consists of a group of professionals who make sure the information is current and accurate before posting.

The website upholds an intense security policy which only allows the site to share personal information if consent is given by the individual under certain circumstances. The website a great source of information which can be easily accessed and understood. References: Weaver, S. M. (1993). Information literacy: Educating for life-long learning. Nurse Educator, 18(4), 30-32. http://www. mlanet. org/resources/userguide. html#3 http://adfactornetwork. com/seo/creating-an-authority-website/

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