Medicare and Medicaid information can be overwhelming and confusing to both the consumer and the healthcare professional. The information highway known as the World Wide Web (WWW) can provide the answers to questions about these government benefits, but getting clear, informative and accurate knowledge can be overwhelming. O’Sullivan (2011) identified the WWW as “a primary repository for health information for the medically naïve yet technically savvy healthcare consumer.” One internet website that provides information about Medicare and Medicaid is CMS.gov ("Cms.gov centers for”). The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is the United States agency that administers Medicare, Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). The CMS.gov website is a central housing location for providing information to the beneficiaries of these government medical insurance programs. This article will use a systematic approach to evaluate the CMS.gov website for credibility. Credibility of the CMS.gov website is determined by scrutiny of evidence based criteria (Anderson & Klemm, 2008). A systematic approach for evaluating health-related internet websites found on the Internet must be utilized. The following criteria will be used for evaluation: authority, information, objectivity, ease of navigation, and privacy and security ("Week 3 Lesson, Chamberlain College of Nursing, Course NR500 Foundational Concepts and Applications," 2011). An examination of the Uniform Resource Locator (URL) can also provide clues to the credibility of the website. Websites published by government agencies or non-profit organizations ending in .gov, .org or .edu are the most credible and are the best choice for finding trustworthy website information. This website examination will review this factor also.
The evaluation of the CMS.gov website will determine if the information provided comes from a responsible source without conflict of interests, evaluating the source, purpose and intention of the website. The information will be reviewed for accuracy and completeness. It will be determined if the website is objective and how is it financially supported. The information will be scrutinized for the selection process and who selects the content of the information; determining if the information is believable and up to date. And finally, the website will be evaluated on its requirement and use of personal information. Method
Five basic criteria will be used to evaluate the website: authority, information, objectivity, ease of navigation and privacy and security ("Week 3 Lesson, Chamberlain College of Nursing, Course NR500 Foundational Concepts and Applications," 2011). Procedure
Each criterion will be evaluated utilizing questions developed from the National Library of Medicine Evaluating Internet Health Information ("Evaluating internet health,”). These questions include: Who runs the website? Why was the website created? (Authority) Is the website reviewed by experts? Where did the information come from? (Information) Who is paying for the website? What do the creators want? Are the claims made by the website believable? (Objectivity) Is the information up to date? Is the information easy to access? (Ease of navigation) Does the website ask for personal information and what will they do with the personal information? (Privacy and security) ("Evaluating internet health,”) In addition, the website URL will be examined to determine if it meets the standards for reliable websites.
Evaluation of authority
Evaluation of the website URL is the first examination step. The Net Server Type (NST) identifies the type of server and gives clues to the type of agency responsible for the site. The CMS.gov NST indicates it is established by a government agency. Although the URL represents a creditable website, further examination is necessary to determine the...