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Special Communication |

Guidelines for Medical and Health Information Sites on the Internet:  Principles Governing AMA Web Sites

Margaret A. Winker, MD; Annette Flanagin, RN, MA; Bonnie Chi-Lum, MD, MPH; John White, MS; Karen Andrews; Robert L. Kennett; Catherine D. DeAngelis, MD, MPH; Robert A. Musacchio, PhD
JAMA. 2000;283(12):1600-1606. doi:10.1001/jama.283.12.1600.
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Access to medical information via the Internet has the potential to speed the transformation of the patient-physician relationship from that of physician authority ministering advice and treatment to that of shared decision making between patient and physician. However, barriers impeding this transformation include wide variations in quality of content on the Web, potential for commercial interests to influence online content, and uncertain preservation of personal privacy. To address these issues, the American Medical Association (AMA) has developed principles to guide development and posting of Web site content, govern acquisition and posting of online advertising and sponsorship, ensure site visitors' and patients' rights to privacy and confidentiality, and provide effective and secure means of e-commerce. While these guidelines were developed for the AMA Web sites and visitors to these sites, they also may be useful to other providers and users of medical information on the Web. These principles have been developed with the understanding that they will require frequent revision to keep pace with evolving technology and practices on the Internet. The AMA encourages review and feedback from readers, Web site visitors, policymakers, and all others interested in providing reliable quality information via the Web.

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The American Medical Association is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The AMA designates this journal-based CME activity for a maximum of 1 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM per course. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. Physicians who complete the CME course and score at least 80% correct on the quiz are eligible for AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM.
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