Can You Trust Blogs? 10 Questions for Medical Bloggers

Blogs are popular but are they credible?

An attempt to answer this is to ask bloggers a few questions, mainly about their motivation to write and how they choose their sources.

The credibility issue is not limited to medical blogs. In fact, as usual, IT blogs are leading the way and I saw a similar series with questions to fellow bloggers on who interviewed one of my favorite IT bloggers, Philipp Lenssen of Google Blogoscoped.

The 10 questions for medical bloggers are based on an article from NCCAM, National Institutes of Health - 10 Things To Know About Evaluating Medical Resources on the Web:

1. Who runs this site?
2. Who pays for the site?
3. What is the purpose of the site?
4. Where does the information come from?
5. What is the basis of the information?
6. How is the information selected?
7. How current is the information?
8. How does the site choose links to other sites?
9. What information about you does the site collect, and why?
10. How does the site manage interactions with visitors?

Dr. Hsien-Hsien Lei decided to adapt the questions to medical bloggers and you can see some of the answers here:

- Hsien Hsien Lei, PhD of

- Notes from Dr. RW

- The Haversian Canal

- Enoch Choi of medmusings

- Dmitriy Kruglyak of

- The Biotech Weblog

- Emergiblog

- Rita Schwab of MSSP Nexus Blog

- Shrinkette - musings of a psychiatrist in the pacific northwest

The answers also make a good "About Me/FAQ/Disclaimer" page for a website.

If are writing a medical blog, please do not forget to make sure that your blog is HIPAA-compliant.

Dr. Lei has started an honor roll listing medical bloggers who answered the 10 questions.


Evaluating Web Pages: Techniques to Apply & Questions to Ask - UC Berkeley
Who Are the Medical Bloggers and Where to Find Them?
Case Reports and HIPAA Rules
Image source: Wikipedia

Related reading

Twitter, HIPAA, Privacy and Freedom of Speech. Phil Baumann, 07/2008.
As A Busy Physician, Why Do I Even Bother Blogging? - Excellent summary.
HIPAA found in Hippocratic Oath: Keep the patients’ secrets a secret. Also: My colleagues will be my brothers and sisters


  1. Great summary of resources. There is also HONcode standard for health websites, but it does not cover the specifics of blogs.

    Perhaps we as a community should develop a new, more comprehensive standard, specifically for med blogging.

  2. Thanks for keeping track of the blogs who've been participating in this full disclosure exercise. It's a great way to learn more about our fellow medical bloggers as well.

  3. The discussion on whether or not we need to define any standards is started:

    Health & Medical Blogs: Professionalize or Perish - A CALL TO ACTION

  4. Hi, this is really useful, thank you. I have posted a link on our site (UK Resource Centre for Women in Science, Engineering and Technology)