The Problem: Health misinformation is widespread–and dangerous.

False health information—from phony cures to ineffective and dangerous supplements to conspiracy theories that undermine trust in legitimate medical treatments like vaccines⁠—is one of the largest and most dangerous categories of misinformation online.

  • 1 in 10 of the news and information websites Americans engage with each month online publish health care misinformation or hoaxes, according to a NewsGuard analysis of 4,000+ websites published by STAT News.
  • 37% of misinformation sites identified by NewsGuard are sites focused predominantly on health misinformation specifically, making health misinformation one of the largest categories.
  • 320+ domains have been flagged as publishing COVID-19 myths in NewsGuard’s COVID-19 Misinformation Tracker–and the number grows every day.

“We are not just fighting a pandemic, we are fighting an infodemic. False messages spread faster than the virus, and they’re just as dangerous.”

⁠—World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus

“We need a vaccine against misinformation.”

⁠— Head of WHO’s emergencies program Dr. Michael Ryan

By reviewing and rating the overall reliability of websites that were in the business of misinformation long before they turned their attention to health hoaxes, HealthGuard’s analysts “prebunk” COVID-19 hoaxes and other healthcare misinformation from hundreds of popular websites.

HealthGuard provides patients and healthcare workers with detailed trust ratings–conducted by trained journalists–for hundreds of health news and information sites.

As you browse the internet, HealthGuard’s browser extension displays red and green trust rating icons next to links to health news and information sites in your search results and social media feeds. Hover your mouse over each icon for a short description of the site and click “See the Full Nutrition Label” for a detailed description of the site, whether or not it is credible, and why it received its rating. HealthGuard is a product of NewsGuard, the Internet Trust Tool. Learn more about NewsGuard’s ratings and process here.

With HealthGuard installed patients and healthcare workers alike can have more context about sources of health information they encounter online–and avoid believing, sharing, or repeating information they find on unreliable health hoax sites flagged by HealthGuard’s ratings.

Users can access HealthGuard by purchasing a subscription or through an Access Code provided by a health institution such as a hospital system, doctor’s office, insurance provider, or other institution.

 

Healthcare institutions can partner with HealthGuard to offer our browser extension and health literacy materials to patients and medical professionals alike.

Patients often rely on the Internet before consulting their doctor, so often have preconceived ideas based on misinformation. This wastes time and resources and makes it harder for medical professionals to provide quality treatment.

But by partnering with HealthGuard, medical institutions can provide patients with a powerful trust tool that helps them avoid medical misinformation and develop critical health information literacy skills that make it less likely that they will come to an appointment armed with unreliable information.

HealthGuard licensing partnerships can include access to HealthGuard for patients and medial professionals, a collection of health information literacy materials to raise awareness of the risks involved in trusting online health information, and other joint activities aimed at educating patients about healthcare information.

Contact us for more information about licensing opportunities.

Partnering to advance health care literacy.

Hospitals, insurers, patient portals, and doctor offices have many communications touchpoints with patients. These can be used to encourage patients to focus on the reliability of healthcare information online.

Partnering with HealthGuard, medical institutions can encourage medical literacy via websites, emails, social media and print pamphlets.