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Case managers whose patients turn to health web sites for sensitive medical information are often concerned that these sites may not do an adequate job of providing accurate health information or protecting patient privacy. In an attempt to better safeguard consumers seeking health information on the Internet, URAC/American Accreditation HealthCare Commission in Washington, DC, recently launched a Health Web Site Accreditation program as part of its ongoing commitment to set quality standards for health care organizations.
URAC also encourages case management organizations who launch their own health web sites and turn to the Internet to provide patient education and management services to seek accreditation, as well. It’s a mark of quality that often translates into consumer confidence and trust.
"Many URAC-accredited companies have found that accreditation is a mark of distinction that gives them a competitive advantage in the marketplace," says Gary Carneal, JD, MA, URAC president and CEO. He continues, "We feel that this advantage will be especially important in the e-health space, because it is so consumer-oriented and consumers want assurances that they are receiving quality health information and services."
URAC released a draft of the health web site standards for public comment in late February and accepted comments from interested parties until April 23. Now, URAC’s Health Web Site Advisory Committee is reviewing the comments and revising the draft standards. URAC plans to begin testing the proposed standards on several pilot health sites and hopes to adopt final standards in July.
Organizations interested in reading the proposed health web site standards or submitting a pre-application for Health Web Site Accreditation should visit the URAC web site at www.urac.org for details about the terms and conditions of the accreditation process and to complete the pre-application form, or call URAC at (202) 216-9010. Interested parties may also e-mail email@example.com to request more information.