Health on the Net Foundation’s Code of Conduct

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I am pleased to announce that in May of this year the Diabetic Mediterranean Diet Blog met the accreditation criteria of the Health on the Net Foundation’s Code of Conduct for medical and health Web sites.

From the HON website:

The Health On the Net Foundation (HON) promotes and guides the deployment of useful and reliable online health information, and its appropriate and efficient use.  Created in 1995, HON is a non-profit, non-governmental organization, accredited to the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.  For twelve years, HON has focused on the essential question of the provision of health information to citizens, information that respects ethical standards.  To cope with the unprecedented volume of healthcare information available on the Net, the HONcode of conduct offers a multi-stakeholder consensus on standards to protect citizens from misleading health information.

Here are HONcode criteria I pledge to uphold:

  1. Authoritative.  Any medical or health advice provided and hosted on this site will only be given by medically trained and qualified professionals unless a clear statement is made that a piece of advice offered is from a non-medically qualified individual or organisation.
  2. Complementarity.  The information provided on this site is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between a patient/site visitor and his/her existing physician.
  3. Privacy.  Confidentiality of data relating to individual patients and visitors to a medical/health Web site, including their identity, is respected by this Web site. The Web site owners undertake to honour or exceed the legal requirements of medical/health information privacy that apply in the country and state where the Web site and mirror sites are located.
  4. Attribution.  Where appropriate, information contained on this site will be supported by clear references to source data and, where possible, have specific HTML links to that data.  The date when a clinical page was last modified will be clearly displayed (e.g. at the bottom of the page).
  5. Justifiability.  Any claims relating to the benefits/performance of a specific treatment, commercial product or service will be supported by appropriate, balanced evidence in the manner outlined above in Principle 4.
  6. Transparency.  The designers of this Web site will seek to provide information in the clearest possible manner and provide contact addresses for visitors that seek further information or support.  The Webmaster will display his/her E-mail address clearly throughout the Web site.
  7. Financial disclosure.  Support for this Web site will be clearly identified, including the identities of commercial and non-commercial organisations that have contributed funding, services or material for the site.
  8. Advertising policy.  If advertising is a source of funding it will be clearly stated.  A brief description of the advertising policy adopted by the Web site owners will be displayed on the site.  Advertising and other promotional material will be presented to viewers in a manner and context that facilitates differentiation between it and the original material created by the institution operating the site.

If you notice any violations of the code, please contact me via email (see Contact page) or contact the Health on the Net Foundation.

Steve Parker, M.D. 

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