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Objective: The patients involvement in disease management can decrease economic burden on diabetic patients and society. Quality health information may help patients to involve in their health management. Thus, individuals need to find the additional information from other information resources such as health websites. Nevertheless, health websites vary in quality and reliability. Therefore, it is of great importance to identify trustable health websites on diabetes. Thus, the aim of the present study was to evaluate the reliability of health websites concerning diabetes.
Materials and methods: The keyword ‘’diabetes mellitus ‘’ was entered as a search term into the three most used search engines Google, Yahoo and Bing. The results for first three pages reported by each search engine were selected. After excluding 19 websites, 71 unique websites were eligible for examination. The reliability of websites was evaluated manually using the HONcode of conduct tool by both researchers. Furthermore, HONcode toolbar function was used to recognize officially verified websites.
Results: Only 19 out of 71 websites were officially verified by HONcode foundation. None of the other retrieved websites achieved all 8 principles. Most of the retrieved websites were commercial (67.6%) and the minimum number of the them belongs to university websites (1.4%). The highest and lowest compliance with the HON principles belonged to justifiability (99%), and attribution (51%).
Conclusion: Diabetic patients need high quality information from trustworthy websites to decide better about their health. Thus, physicians should have knowledge about the variable quality of health websites and guide their patients to reliable online resources.