A classmate and I wrote a paper on the use of blogs by dietitians for a school project...
we called it: Entering the Blogosphere: Professional and Ethical Consideration for Dietitians.
I learned a lot writing this paper.
For example, did you know that a new blog is created every second every day... and 1.2 million new blog posts are posted every day?!
We also found that, while blogs have lots of benefits for health professionals, and our readers (!), there are no standards for blogging RDs- our professional organizations haven't jumped on the bandwagon yet...
It's difficult for visitors to our blogs to determine the level of confidentiality they're offered, to verify credibility, or discover the blogger’s identity (if it is even provided), credentials, funding or any conflict of interest.
So.... we proposed that all blogging RDs adhere to the following guidelines.... to maintain professionalism while giving our readers a way to assess to quality of the source of the info.
The recommendations are based on the HONcode and Healthcare Blogger Code of Ethics criteria, on information for users on evaluating online health information offered by the National Cancer Institute and Medlineplus, and on recommendations from a representative of the College of Dietitians of Ontario (the provincial regulatory board).
1. Authority - Blog owner’s full name, credentials, and the city in which he/she practices should
2. Accessibility - Contact information must be accurate and easily accessible.
3. Transparency - Authors of all posts, along with their credentials, must be provided if blog
owner is not responsible for all content; a statement defining the purpose of the blog must be
4. Audience - Target audience must be clearly identified and content and readability should be
in accordance -readability for a lay-public should be no higher than a grade eight level.
5. Complementarity - A disclaimer statement must be included indicating that content is
meant to complement, not replace, care provided by a health care team.
6. Journalistic Diligence - All sources of information must be provided; information must be
accurate , up-to-date, and presented in a balanced way; bloggers should rely mainly on
peer-reviewed and gold-standard sources and indicate clearly when this is not the case, or
when stating or referring to opinions.
7. Funding - Sources of funding, or if no funding is received, must be disclosed; conflict of
interest must be declared.
8. Advertisement - Advertisements must be clearly delineated from content; if blog contains
ads, a statement of how they are associated with content must be included.
9. Privacy - Readers’ privacy must be respected by ensuring confidentiality, not sharing emails
with third-parties, never using identifiable information; a privacy statement must be included
outlining how privacy is upheld.
10. Professionalism - Appropriate language must be used; comments must be moderated to
remove misleading and vulgar statements.