High Quality Health Info Online Must be Accessible, Says Issue Brief From NQF With Support From YouTube Health 

MAR 14, 2023

CONTACT: Zachary Brousseau

High Quality Health Info Online Must be Accessible, Says Issue Brief From NQF With Support From YouTube Health

Washington, DC – As consumers increasingly rely on the internet as an essential source of information about health and wellness, it is critical that high quality online health content is accessible to consumers at all health literacy levels. With funding from YouTube Health, the National Quality Forum (NQF) developed and released an Issue Brief (PDF) outlining five fundamentals of high quality online health information to aid health sources in improving accessibility across technology platforms.

“With nearly three-quarters of Americans saying they start their patient journeys using search engines, making sure they can find high quality health information is a vital step toward empowering patients and supporting their healthcare decision making,” said Dana Gelb Safran, ScD, President & CEO, NQF. “Consumers need a clear, easy-to-understand signal of the quality and credibility of the health information they find online in articles, videos, interactive web pages, or any other format.”

Health sources must base content on information from credible sources, but without ensuring accessibility to consumers, the value of that information is lost. With so much information available online and consumer usage so widespread, high quality health information must also be easy to find, understand, and use. NQF gathered expert input to identify five fundamentals to guide health sources in improving the accessibility of high quality online health information. They are:

  • Credible: Is the information from a credible source?
  • Obtainable: Can the information be easily acquired?
  • Authentic: Does the information come from a health source who is perceived as trustworthy?
  • Relatable: Is the information meaningful to the consumer?
  • Actionable: Does the information help support consumers in making health and healthcare decisions?

Together, these fundamentals create a framework for developing content that can elevate personal health literacy levels. To develop the Issue Brief, NQF conducted key informant interviews and convened a virtual forum with experts from health communication science, social media content creation, and healthcare professional organizations. Each section of the Issue Brief covers one fundamental outlining key challenges for consumers and considerations for health sources. An example is provided for each fundamental to help illustrate how it can be applied in practice.

“NQF’s extensive experience as a neutral convener and consensus builder bringing together diverse voices from across healthcare has been critical to this work,” said Dr. Garth Graham, Global Head of YouTube Health. “These fundamentals can now serve as guiding principles for a range of different health sources creating different types of online content to inform a range of consumers.”

Healthcare and technology platforms are constantly changing. NQF’s Issue Brief is designed to be applicable to high quality online health information regardless of specific technologies, audiences, or health sources. Additional work will be needed to develop proven best practices for implementing the fundamentals set forth in the Brief.


About National Quality Forum
The National Quality Forum (NQF) works with members of the healthcare community to drive measurable health improvements together. NQF is a not-for-profit, membership-based organization that gives all healthcare stakeholders a voice in advancing quality measures and improvement strategies that lead to better outcomes and greater value. Learn more at www.qualityforum.org.