Mount Sinai Health System and NewsGuard Join Forces to Combat Health Misinformation
NewsGuard platformprotects consumers from dangerous health hoaxes and guides them to credible health information; Mount Sinai patients, students, doctors, and other staff gain access to online tool.
(September 14 — New York City) As its frontline doctors work to battle the pandemic of COVID-19, NewsGuard and Mount Sinai Health System are collaborating to take on the “infodemic” of health misinformation that has proliferated alongside the disease.
Under a license agreement with NewsGuard, Mount Sinai’s patients, medical students, doctors, and other health care workers will receive free access to the HealthGuard browser extension, which include reliability ratings and “Nutrition Label” reviews for hundreds of popular websites that cover health topics from COVID-19 to cancer. The reviews are produced by NewsGuard, which deploys an experienced group of journalists to issue trust ratings for thousands of news and information websites across the U.S. and Europe. With the extension installed, users will see Green and Red icons next to links to health sites in their social media feeds and search results, flagging websites that might provide baseless or harmful medical advice and highlighting sites that provide trusted advice.
“We know that patients inevitably turn to Google for questions related to their health, and are directed to many sources for health information,” said Karen Wish, Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer at Mount Sinai Health System. “The HealthGuard tool is a novel platform that helps our patients evaluate if a website is trusted and reliable.”
“By providing website ratings at the domain level, HealthGuard ‘prebunks’ false articles before they go viral, acting as a ‘vaccine’ against health hoaxes,” said Gordon Crovitz, NewsGuard co-CEO.
As part of the collaboration, NewsGuard and Mount Sinai will produce health media literacy resources to help patients learn to avoid online health myths. NewsGuard will also host educational webinars on the top trends in health misinformation for Mount Sinai staff and patients.
“Even before COVID-19, NewsGuard data indicated that more than one in 10 websites with which Americans engage each month publish health care misinformation – ranging from the myth that the broadband technology 5G causes COVID-19 to the dangerous ‘treatment’ that advises ingesting fruit pits to cure cancer,” said Steven Brill, co-CEO of NewsGuard. “COVID-19 has brought this trend to the forefront. We’ve identified more than 300 websites that have published misinformation related to the virus — many of which were trafficking in health hoaxes before the pandemic and which will likely continue to do so long after the pandemic has been eradicated. That’s why health media literacy interventions like HealthGuard are, and will remain, critical to any public health program, and it’s why we are so glad that a revered health care system like Mount Sinai is partnering with us in this effort.”
“This tool will help provide our patents with reliable health information sources they can trust, which is vital in this information age where patients run the risk of being exposed to misinformation from unverified sources, said John Davey, Vice President of Marketing Technology at Mount Sinai Health System. “The HealthGuard tool provides a seal of approval that the health information on vetted sites is sound and trustworthy.”
To learn more about licensing or sponsoring HealthGuard, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Launched in March 2018 by media entrepreneur and award-winning journalist Steven Brill and former Wall Street Journal publisher Gordon Crovitz, NewsGuard provides credibility ratings and detailed “Nutrition Labels” for thousands of news and information websites. NewsGuard rates all the news and information websites that account for 95% of online engagement across the U.S., U.K., Germany, France, and Italy. NewsGuard products include NewsGuard, HealthGuard, and BrandGuard, which helps marketers concerned about their brand safety.
NewsGuard rates each site based on nine apolitical criteria of journalistic practice, including whether a site repeatedly publishes false content, whether it regularly corrects or clarifies errors, and whether it avoids deceptive headlines. It awards weighted points for each criterion and sums them up; a score of less than 60 earns a “Red” rating, while 60 and above earns a “Green” rating, which indicates it is generally reliable.
NewsGuard’s ratings and Nutrition Labels can be licensed by internet service providers, browsers, news aggregators, education companies, and social media and search platforms in order to make NewsGuard’s information about news websites available to their users. Consumers can access these ratings by purchasing a subscription to NewsGuard, which costs $2.95/month and includes access to NewsGuard’s browser extension for Chrome, Safari, and Firefox and its mobile app for iOS and Android. The extension is available for free on Microsoft’s Edge browser through a license agreement with Microsoft, and NewsGuard’s ratings can also be accessed free through the Edge mobile browser. Hundreds of public libraries globally receive free access to use NewsGuard’s browser extension on their public-access computers to give their patrons more context for the news they encounter online. For more information, including to download the browser extension and review the ratings process, visit newsguardtech.com.
About the Mount Sinai Health System
The Mount Sinai Health System is New York City’s largest academic medical system, encompassing eight hospitals, a leading medical school, and a vast network of ambulatory practices throughout the greater New York region. Mount Sinai is a national and international source of unrivaled education, translational research and discovery, and collaborative clinical leadership ensuring that we deliver the highest quality care—from prevention to treatment of the most serious and complex human diseases. The Health System includes more than 7,200 physicians and features a robust and continually expanding network of multispecialty services, including more than 400 ambulatory practice locations throughout the five boroughs of New York City, Westchester, and Long Island. The Mount Sinai Hospital is ranked No. 14 on U.S. News & World Report’s “Honor Roll” of the Top 20 Best Hospitals in the country and the Icahn School of Medicine as one of the Top 20 Best Medical Schools in country. Mount Sinai Health System hospitals are consistently ranked regionally by specialty and our physicians in the top 1% of all physicians nationally by U.S. News & World Report.