Our review criteria consist of 10 different elements that we think all health care news stories about interventions should include. We think these criteria address the basic issues that consumers need to know in order to develop informed opinions about these interventions – and how/whether they matter in their lives. In some cases, it may be impossible or unreasonable for a story to address some of our criteria, in which case we’ll say so in our comments. We may rate certain such criteria as not applicable in some cases.
Each of the criteria are at least partially influenced by, and appear in, the following seminal publications:
A multi-disciplinary team of reviewers from journalism, medicine, health services research, public health and patient perspectives assesses the quality of the stories using a standardized rating system. Stories are graded and critiques are published on this website. Two or three different reviewers evaluate each story. Hundreds of years of experience are represented on this team of expert reviewers.
Read more about our reviewers.
News stories will be monitored each Monday through Friday in major U.S. media. We may, at any time, review any news story we see from any news organization.
As of January 5, 2015, the following are the media we will review. We will only review what we find on the websites of these news organizations. On many days we will not be able to review all of the eligible stories that we find. In such instances, we will decide what to review based on a number of factors, including:
Each day we will review the websites of the following papers that are among the leaders in daily circulation:
Also checked daily:
Wire or news services:
During our first 3.5 years, we reviewed ABC, CBS and NBC health news stories every day. In 2009, we decided to stop this very time-consuming process of having three reviewers apply ten standardized criteria to TV news stories because, frankly, overall the stories were not improving. We have limited resources and can’t review everything. We chose to apply our time, resources and energy to new and different media with whom we might have more impact. That does not mean we are ignoring TV health news. In fact, since that decision in 2009 we have commented frequently on our blog about TV health news.
You can also use our interactive chart that allows you to compare individual news organizations’ performance to the overall average of all organizations reviewed to date.
HealthNewsReview.org does not provide medical opinion. Nothing in our reviews should be construed as medical advice.
We understand there are many challenges to achieving accuracy, balance and completeness in health care journalism. For a reporter, there are deadlines, editors, and corporate financial pressures. We hold the bar high for quality in health care journalism because it plays a major role in educating consumers. Consumers need to be well informed to make sound choices that affect their health and well being.
We strive to give the journalist the benefit of the doubt in our review comments. And we always try to offer constructive criticism, making suggestions whenever possible about how an approach could have been improved.
We are excited to add systematic reviews of health care-related news releases, written for medical journals, drug/device and other industry representatives, hospitals, academic medical centers and others.
We’ve added new reviewers to take on this task, with a process that will be very similar to our time-honored approach with reviewing health care news stories.
We are re-designing this website, and hope to introduce the new site with this new feature by April 2015. Stay tuned.
There are multiple ways to search our reviews. You may search by keyword, news source or review rating.