Two companies are helping cybersurfers find the best healthcare sites on the World Wide Web.Echo Strategies Group, a Boston-based marketing communications firm, recently launched a review program for healthcare-related sites called Six Senses.As of last week, Six Senses had reviewed 82 sites, 25 of which were awarded its seal of approval. The ratings criteria are aesthetics, content, innovation, interactivity, freshness and character.Winners may post the Six Senses seal on their Web pages but are not obligated to do so.More than a dozen index and search services such as Infoseek and Yahoo examine all types of Web sites, including healthcare sites, and catalog the most interesting and useful. Infoseek's Cool Sites, Point Communications' Top 5% of All Web Sites, and the McKinley Group's Magellan Four Star ratings are among those that offer quality seals.Six Senses differentiates itself by specializing in healthcare, said Carolyn Lieb, an Echo account coordinator.Because Echo also develops Web sites, Lieb said, it wants to develop the most objective review panel possible.At least three people review each site, and Echo is trying to recruit more industry professionals to its panel, she said. Reviewers' names and backgrounds are posted at the site. Visitors may read the reviews and give feedback.By June, Echo plans to add a search engine, which will enable visitors to locate data in healthcare sites.Eventually Echo intends to post advertising on the site to pay for the service, Lieb said.The review services are free to users.Another healthcare-specific resource is the Internet Resource Guide, a 24-page booklet from Aspen Publishers in Frederick, Md.The guide is written for healthcare administrators. It describes sites on clinical data, information systems, telemedicine, Internet navigation, federal government records, healthcare administration, professional resources, risk and health education.The guide also includes comments from Web site users and developers.-
THE WEEK IN HEALTHCARE;HEALTHCARE WEB SURFERS GET GUIDES
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