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Web Site Critique

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Introduction

The website to be critiqued in this paper is the CDC.gov website which is the official website of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This website is used by researchers as a source of credible online health information with the most recent findings on a suitable topic (CDC, 2014). The CDC team of experts is committed to achieving significant enhancements in the lives of people through the application of evidence-based research in clinical settings. Its commitment to the application of research and findings in medical emergencies makes the website stand out from other government and nongovernmental agency websites. Furthermore, this website provides evidence of relaying information from different states and countries providing sustainable strategies for disease prevention and management across the world (Lu et al., 2014). This website also retains accurate health statistics for future use including information on bioterrorism. Finally, this website also contains information on the global state of protection against international disease transmission considering that CDC has stationed personnel in more than 25 countries. The purpose of this paper is to provide a critique of this website based on an established and personalized criterion.

Criteria for Critique

This critique is based on the following broad criteria obtained from the United States Library Institute of Medicine (2012).

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  • Information provider and the purpose of the website
  • The quality of information
  • Privacy of the Users

Information Provider and the Purpose of the Web Site

The providers of the information posted on the CDC.gov website are all scientific researchers who invest their time and resources to come up with the most authentic information beneficial to the targeted audience. At times, the CDC also funds some researchers to research different countries affected by different diseases to come up with reliable findings and proposals on how to handle such infections and conditions (Van Howe, 2015). The possibility of falsified linkages to CDC.gov should, however, not be eliminated as some people knowledgeable in information technology can falsely link inaccurate information to the website. The CDC.gov team does not take personal responsibility for the information provided on its website, making it impossible to identify and differentiate authentic and non-authentic information that cannot be relied upon (Doe & Smith, 2013). The purpose of this website is to provide information on the latest disease prevention mechanisms to benefit the society in the United States and more than 25 other foreign countries.

The Quality of the Information

Notably, the CDC.gov website is updated on a regular basis with the latest update having been documented in October 2017 suggesting a high quality and reliability of its contents. Such regular updates are necessary considering that the current healthcare system is concerned with the implementation of EBP to improve the quality of patient care. Furthermore, the rate at which new diseases and infections are being discovered is relatively high, and healthcare organizations are concerned with new ways of handling such infections through EBP, making it important for a website to be regularly updated. From research, some of the existing ways of doing things are found to be outdated and costly compared to the newer ways of managing certain diseases and health conditions. Presenting such information on the CDC.gov website helps medical practitioners, nurses and nurse practitioners among other healthcare workers to use the most cost-effective and efficient techniques in managing the conditions of their patients. In an attempt to remain timely and relevant, however, a web site’s management team may out its authors under pressure to write information to be posted on the websites. Under such pressure, the authors may not have adequate time to ascertain the quality of information they post on the website. Such information may be misleading and may result in health management challenges that affect health workers and patients not only in the US but also all over the world (Van Howe, 2015). Fortunately, this website has editors and research experts who authenticate all the information before it is published and posted on the website for accessibility by all interested parties. Furthermore, all articles are cited with the legitimate authors and year of publication to provide the user with useful and up to date information.

The CDC has research personnel based in more than 25 foreign countries and much more in the USA who are knowledgeable in the specific areas of their specialization. Such research personnel are knowledgeable in areas such as biotechnology, nursing research and disease epidemiology, and health informatics among other areas of specialization. As such, the scope of information found in the CDC.gov website is as wide as the potential target audience which includes medical practitioners, nurses, nurse practitioners, scientific researchers and research students (CDC, 2014). Health literacy has recently become an important topic of discussion in the healthcare sector making it important for healthcare patients to have some knowledge about their conditions to take part in their treatment plan. The language presented in the CDC.gov website, however, is too complicated for such patients who may not understand the implications of most of the information presented on the website. Furthermore, the web site publishes most of its findings in the English language making the research outcomes only relevant to an audience that understands this language. This study proposes an expansion of the language options for publishing information on the website to at least include other common languages such as French and Chinese (Van Howe, 2015). This website should also indicate a provision to allow immediate response to audience concerns since it is missing despite the fact that this website targets a wide audience. No advertisement adds on the website which would divert the attention of the users to a certain product or service.

Privacy of Users

It is important for a website to be readily available for use by the targeted audience; otherwise, it would be useless to open up the website in the first place. The CDC.gov website is freely available for its users and anybody can access the information provided on the website and concerning any topic of concern. This achievement by the web site managers who comprise government agencies is a real attempt towards ensuring that the information is relayed to a wider group of the targeted audience (Van Howe, 2015). All personal information is kept under privacy terms and cannot be accessed by unauthorized personnel especially because the website does not require a user to log in to access information. However, it should be remembered that some of the information in the website can be misused if accessed by the undesired audience. Previously, for example, it was noted that this website contains information on bioterrorism and enhanced strategies on how to curb this problem. If the website is left for open accessibility, such information would be accessed by the terror groups who would eventually devise their mechanisms on how to circumvent the existing methods of curbing terrorism (Lu et al., 2014). To solve this problem, the website managers would be expected to control the accessibility of the information via logins to the website or any other method that would significantly limit the use of such information by undesired groups of people. This strategy also requires the providers to continue ensuring privacy for the user information (United States Library Institute of Medicine, 2012).

Conclusion

The CDC.gov website contains the latest information on strategies for the prevention of diseases and infections. The critiquing criteria entailed investigating the information provider and the purpose of the website, the quality of information provided and the privacy of the user. From the critique, it is evident that the CDC.gov website meets all the criteria provided although some improvements are recommended.

1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2014). Cancer prevention and control. World cancer day. http://www.cdc.gov/cancer/dcpc/resources/features/WorldCancerDay/. Accessed November 5, 2017.

2. Doe, J., & Smith, J. (2013). The United States. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Avian flu: Reported statistics, 2008-2012. Atlanta, GA.

3. Lu, J., Sun, L., Fang, L., Yang, F., Mo, Y., Lao, J., & Guo, L. (2015). Gastroenteritis outbreaks caused by norovirus GII. 17, Guangdong Province, China, 2014–2015. Emerging Infectious Diseases, 21(7), 1240.

4. United States Library Institute of Medicine. (2012). Evaluating internet health information: A tutorial from the National Library of Medicine. Retrieved from http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/webeval/webval.html

5. Van Howe, R. S. (2015). A CDC-requested, evidence-based critique of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 2014 draft on male circumcision: How ideology and selective science lead to superficial, culturally-biased recommendations by the CDC. Academia web site. January

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