Kitemarking the west windWebsite labels are analogous to food labelsNHS Direct Online has important role

BMJ 2001; 322 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.322.7289.794 (Published 31 March 2001)
Cite this as: BMJ 2001;322:794

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Website labels are analogous to food labels

  1. Gunther Eysenbach, project coordinator, MedCERTAIN (ey@yi.com),
  2. Gabriel Yihune, researcher,
  3. Kristian Lampe, medical officer,
  4. Phil Cross, senior technical researcher,
  5. Dan Brickley, technical director, MedCERTAIN
  1. Unit for Cybermedicine and eHealth, Department of Clinical Social Medicine, Bergheimer Strasser 58, D-69115 Heidelberg, Germany
  2. Finnish Office for Health Care Technology Assessment, National Research and Development Centre for Welfare and Health, Box 220, 00531 Helsinki, Finland
  3. Institute for Learning and Research Technology, University of Bristol, Bristol BS8 1HH
  4. NHS Direct Online, Winchester SO22 5DH

    EDITOR—We disagree with several of the ideas expressed by Delamothe in his editorial—for example, that we cope without the help of kitemarks and gateways in the real world. 1 2 Book reviews, television programmes, even the BMJ are all counterparts of “infomediaries.” There is also consensus that any gateway, kitemark, or trustmark cannot and does not intend to guarantee the “accuracy” or completeness of information,3 as implied by the editorial. Instead, they should be seen and used as tools to increase transparency.

    The European Union project MedCERTAIN (MedPICS Certification and Rating of Trustworthy and Assessed Health Information on the Net) will use the concept of a third generation of trustmark, which must be discriminated from traditional kitemarks. The approach can best be explained by drawing an analogy to food labels. In order to direct consumers to a healthy diet we are not telling them which products to eat specifically; instead we educate consumers about healthy constituents of …

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