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Is the HON Code Meaningless?

doctor question honcodeHealth on the Net Foundation has been evaluating and rating medical websites for years and it’s sad when we find out there might be some problems and concerns around this highly-respected system.The Bradfield Resident blog published an interesting entry:

…from a review the HONcode guidelines on the Health On the Net Foundation website, it appears that the Australian Dental Association’s site, which currently displays a HONcode seal, does not respect the HONcode principles.

Details of the water fluoridation argument (and safety of mercury in fillings, etc) aside, it is apparent that the current ADA website does not respect a number of the HONcode principles – to an obvious and significant extent – and I imagine this to have been the case for a number of years, if not from the original review in January 2004. This example does not instill confidence in the credibility of the Health On the Net Foundation seal used for medical and health websites. I seek your explanation as to how a site reviewed numerous times with such glaring inconsistencies could be certified. I have not particularly listed examples of the inconsistencies since they appear on almost every page of the ADA website – if you cannot see them, I hold little hope for the HONcode’s reputation at all.

*This blog post was originally published at ScienceRoll*


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3 Responses to “Is the HON Code Meaningless?”

  1. Joe says:

    If you follow back to the original Bradfield Resident post, you will see that the writer is an anti-fluoridation, anti-vaccination poster, not a source of reliable scientific information. His/her complaints about the Australian Dental Association site, and the HON response, revolve around their positive presentation of information and research regarding the well-documented dental benefits of fluoride treatments. There is no reason on the basis of these particular postings to doubt the appropriateness of awarding the HON code seal to the ADA site.

  2. Lynda Mitchell says:

    Are you aware that the HON code is an active seal, and to find out the current status of compliance, you have to click on the HON code to see it? I just did, and it took me to https://www.hon.ch/HONcode/Conduct.html?HONConduct282436 showing that it does not have a current compliant status with HON, but is under review.

  3. Joe says:

    Yes, I’m aware that they’ve got the site under review. My point was only that, whatever the reason for the review, Bradfield Resident’s complaints are not ones to be taken seriously by any science-based health blogger. Further, I’m disturbed first, that a medical blogger picked up B.R.’s posts and publicized them as if they held scientific merit, and that this blog further picked up that medical blogger’s posting and reposted it apparently without any review of the B.R.’s complaint.

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