Guidelines on Developing Consumer Information on Proper Use of Traditional, Complementary and Alternative Medicine
(2004; 109 pages) View the PDF document
Table of Contents
View the documentAcknowledgements
View the documentForeword
View the documentPreface
View the documentGlossary
Open this folder and view contents1. General Considerations
Open this folder and view contents2. Development of Consumer Information
Open this folder and view contents3. General Principles and Activities for Ensuring Reliable TM/CAM Information
Close this folder4. Topics to Consider when Developing Consumer Information Promoting Proper Use of TM/CAM
View the document4.1 General information
View the document4.2 Where to find reliable information
View the document4.3 How to identify reliable information
Open this folder and view contents4.4 TM/CAM medication therapies
Open this folder and view contents4.5 Procedure-based TM/CAM therapies
View the document4.6 Practitioners
View the document4.7 Pricing and health insurance coverage
View the document5. Use of this Publication
View the documentReferences
Open this folder and view contentsAnnexes
View the documentBack Cover

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).

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