The Health On The Net Foundation: NGO Providing Web Health Information Tools and Services to Citizens Around the World

Date: October 16, 2004 Time: (All day)
Event Type: Lecture

As early as 1995, a team of experts composed of Prof. Jean-Raoul Scherrer, Dr. Donald B. Lindberg, Michel Carpentier (former General Director of the IST, European Commission), Dr. Marion J. Ball, Prof. Jan van Bemmel, Prof. Ron D. Appel, and Guy-Olivier Segond (former Geneva Health minister), foresaw that consumers, newly empowered to research their own medical conditions, could easily fall prey to misleading advice found online. The origins of diverse information sources needed to be considered, weighed and analyzed. With no international legal framework, consumers urgently needed a means to check the reliability and the relevance of health information, and enhanced access to information of the highest quality. This team created the Health On the Net Foundation (HON). HON developed solutions to increase accessibility of health information and to protect Internet citizens through a third party accreditation program. Over ten years, HON carried out several actions. HON introduced the first Code of Conduct for online health information providers, the HONcode, which has over 4,100 participating web sites. HON recently expanded its the HONcode accreditation and enforcement activities to include collaborators in diverse linguistic and cultural areas. HON monitors trends in consumer health Internet use to provide appropriate solutions, including a multilingual medical search engine and directory, and self-help tools such as Stop-Tabac, an interactive smoking cessation Time: program. All HON services are free of commercial influence. HON is an accreditated NGO with special consultative status to the U.N. HON's has served as coordinator for EU-funded IST projects, the most significant of which is WRAPIN (Worldwide online Reliable Advice to Patients and Individuals). WRAPIN is a suite of technologies used to check the reliability of information contained in electronic documents of unfamiliar origin. WRAPIN compares concepts, conclusions and references found in a subject document with information in databases composed of trustworthy sources. Currently, HON serves as partner for Information Quality in the EU-PIPS project. In 2004, Health On the Net Foundation received the European Union's eHealth Award. HON fulfills its mission to guide the growing online community to sound, reliable medical information and expertise. HON Foundation welcomes further international collaboration as it pursues the integration of Telehealth technologies for the benefit of citizens worldwide.