by Internet Medical Society
Dr. Sriram Seshadri, Ahmedabad, India
Dr Minoo Bhagia, India
The commitment to reliable medical practice on the internet
The eHealth Quality seal (eHealthQ) was created to encourage the dissemination of quality medical practice online, and to facilitate access to the latest and most relevant providers of health services through the internet (Telemedicine) as well as medical information in websites and APPs.
The eHealthQ is an ethical standard aimed at offering quality health information. It demonstrates the intent of a website to publish transparent information. The transparency of the website will improve the usefulness and objectivity of the information and the publishment of correct data.
The eHealthQ is a code of ethics that guides site managers in setting up a minimum set of mechanisms to provide quality, objective and transparent medical services tailored to the needs of the patients.
Sites applying for certification and sites already certified undertake to respect the eHealthQ and the requirements for certification.
eHealthQ cannot guarantee the accuracy of medical services presented by a site and its completeness at any given time, but possession of the eHealthQ allows a site to demonstrate its intention to contribute to quality medical information through the publishment of objective and transparent information.
eHealthQ aims to be trustworthy code for medical practice and medical information on Internet. The eHealthQ is designed for three target audiences: patients, the health professionals and the web publisher, actively involving the site owner in the process of certification.
A certified site receives a check-up visit periodically, beginning one year after the initial certification, following a complaint, technical malfunction detected by our monitoring services.
In addition to the biennial review we rely heavily on user vigilance to report alleged non-compliance with the eHealthQ, as we cannot cover the entire Web. Many alerts come to us from sharp-eyed surfers motivated by civic responsibility. We applaud and encourage these alerts as a vital component of self-regulation and as a contribution to our work.
The eHealthQ Principles
Give qualifications of authors
Respect the privacy of site users
Cite the sources and dates of medical information
Justification of claims / balanced and objective claims
Accessibility, provide valid contact details
Provide details of funding
Clearly distinguish advertising from editorial content
The eHeatlhQ: a Quality Certification System
Who can request it? Any health or medical web site, intended for patients, health professionals or the general public, whether or not it has a strictly health or medical focus.
The request for certification is explicit and voluntary (Requests are handled through the IMS website ).
Review for certification: Each request for certification is examined by the eHealthQ working group including doctors and other healthcare professionals. IMS makes a thorough visit of the site and verifies if all eight of the eHeatlhQ ethical principles (see below) are respected. If some principles are missing in the web site, IMS and the site owner work together in order to bring the site into compliance.
Active certification: A site which is found to respect the eight eHeatlhQ principles is given a unique dynamic seal to place on their pages. The seal is directly linked to a eHealthQ certificate located on the IMS website. This certificate specifies how the certified website complies with the eHeatlhQ principles.
Regular monitoring: A certified site receives a check-up visit periodically, beginning one year after the initial certification, following a complaint, technical malfunction detected by our monitoring services.
Compliance assurance: Mechanisms have been implemented in order to ensure compliance and detect violations of the eHeatlhQ. IMS is the only organization to enforce its code through a formal complaint mechanism.