(2004; 109 pages)
4.3 How to identify reliable information
Governments have a key role in the control of information on TM/CAM, irrespective of whether a national TM/CAM centre exists. However, in most countries the majority of consumers may not have access to information controlled by either a national TM/CAM centre or by the government. In any case, consumers are likely to collect information from a variety of sources. Hence there is a need to help consumers understand how to evaluate information about TM/CAM.
WHO has published guidelines entitled Medical products and the Internet: a guide to finding reliable information. The principles of these guidelines could also be used for finding reliable information on TM/CAM (See Annex III) (42).
It is important for the consumer to be able to evaluate critically the information by means of an independent source. Both reliability and quality need to be assessed. Instruments for testing the reliability and quality of general health care information may be developed to help consumers with this evaluation. One notable example is the Discern Instrument in the United Kingdom which is designed to help consumers and others to evaluate information in order to identify reliable and high quality information (41).