Read the BMJ ArticleGunther Eysenbach and Christian Köhler
Health-Related Searches on the Internet

JAMA 2004; 291: 2946.

There is ongoing uncertainty about how often consumers use the Internet to search for health-related information. For instance, although a 2000 survey found that 55% of individuals with Internet access have used the Web to find health or medical information,Phillipov and Phillips reported that 17 health-related search terms they found in the first 300 search terms of the Wordtracker Top 500 keyword report comprised fewer than 1% of all queries. It is possible, however, that people may use many different health-related keywords that are so rare that they never appear on the Top 500 Keywords list. To address this, we analyzed a random sample of search terms entered into a search engine over a longer period of time.
We found that 4.5% of all searches on the web are health-related.

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Read the BMJ ArticleEysenbach G, Kohler C.
How do consumers search for and appraise health information on the world wide web? Qualitative study using focus groups, usability tests, and in-depth interviews

British Medical Journal (BMJ 2002; 324: 573-577)

In this study (my doctoral thesis as well) we observed regular Internetusers on their techniques of retrieving health information on the WWW and described their appraisal of quality of health information in general.

We found that while consumers said that they looked for the source and design to assess the credibility of a site, in practice they rarely bothered. And they explored only the first few links on general search engines when seeking health information.

The paper was nominated in 11/2002 for the Diana Forsyth Award by American Medical Informatics Associationís (AMIA's) People & Organizational Issues Working Group. The award honours the best paper published over the last year (Spring 2001-Spring 2002) that exemplifies work in the spirit of Diana Forsythe. Nominees are best papers reporting research at the intersection of medical informatics and social science. The paper was one of 9 nominated papers for the award, selected from the world medical literature.

read the abstract ... click here for the pdf
[218 kB]


Read the BMJ ArticleKoehler C, Eysenbach G.
Das Internet - Chancen, Risiken und Perspektiven für den chirurgischen Patienten
(The Internet. Opportunities, risks and perspectives for the surgical patient)


Der Chirurg (Chirurg 73 (2002) 5, 410-416)

The Internet is not only a passive information resource but, above all, an interaction medium. It can be harnessed to facilitate quality management. Intelligent technologies will gain increasing significance in the future, when the WWW develops towards a "semantic web".

To read the abstract:
english version
/ german version
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[129 kB]


Read the BMJ ArticleEysenbach G, Kohler C.
Does the internet harm health? Database of adverse events related to the internet has been set up.

British Medical Journal (BMJ 2002; 324(7331): 239)

While we do have a good understanding of the potential benefits of the Web for consumers, we do not know much about potential mechanisms of harm through Internet applications.
Since 2001 we systematically collect published and unpublished cases in the "Database of Adverse Events Related to the Internet".

read the BMJ letter ... click here for the pdf
[172 kB]


Read the BMJ ArticleKohler C, Darmoni SJ, Mayer MA, Roth-Berghofer TR, Fiene M, Eysenbach G.
MedCIRCLE - The Collaboration for Internet Rating, Certification, Labelling, and Evaluation of Health Information

Technology and Health Care, Special Issue: Qualit e-Health
(Technol Health Care. 2002;10(6):515)

MedCIRCLE is an EU-funded semantic web project. The aim of MedCIRCLE is to develop technologies and networks to guide consumers to trustworthy health information on the Internet.

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[206 kB]


Lampe K, Cross P, Brickley D, Eysenbach G, Kohler C, Roine R.
Societal Dimensions of Third-party Evaluation of Internet Health Content
Medical Informatics Europe (MIE) 2003 Conference Proceedings (to be published)

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Mayer MA, Darmoni SJ, Fiene M, Kohler C, Roth-Berghofer TR, Eysenbach G.
MedCIRCLE: The Collaboration for Internet Rating, Certification, Labeling and Evaluation of Health Information on the Semantic World-Wide-Web
Medical Informatics Europe (MIE) 2003 Conference Proceedings (to be published)

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Eysenbach G, Kohler C, Yihune G, Lampe K, Cross P, Brickley D.
A metadata vocabulary for self- and third-party labeling of health web-sites: Health Information Disclosure, Description and Evaluation Language (HIDDEL)
AMIA 2002 Annual Symposium Proceedings
(Supplement to the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association)
(Proc AMIA Annu Fall Symp 2001; (JAMIA Suppl): 169-173)

click here for the pdf [378 kB]


Eysenbach G, Kohler C, Yihune G, Lampe K, Cross P, Brickley D.
A framework for improving the quality of health information on the world-wide-web and bettering public (e-)health: The MedCERTAIN approach.
In: Haux R, Patel V, Hasmann A (eds.) 2001;
Medinfo01, Proceedings of the Tenth World Congress on Medical Informatics: 1450-1454

click here for the pdf [143 kB]