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Health Information Site in Development

The Partnerships and Marketing Division (PMD) of Health Canada invites informal feedback on a consumer health information web site currently under development. An initial prototype was available online - now available as The prototype hasattempted to convey the key elements of planned service intended to meet the health information needs of both the general public and health intermediaries. The questions and suggestions for touring a developmental web-site apply to ANY new web-site.

In this OHPE feature, we take you on a guided tour of the site; point out the thinking behind the page, and invite feedback to the developers. The graphics and navigation system in the final version are expected to be substantially different. The available content is fairly limited. However, it does captures some of the available resources.

As a recipient of this bulletin you represent one of the intended audience groups of any proposed health promotion oriented site, that is, health intermediaries. As individuals, you are also consumers. Both perspectives are welcome contributions to the evolution of a web site.

A Tour of the NPHC/CHN prototype web site:

Given that the view of health for the prototype is based on the broad determinants approach, the home page should give some indication that we are not adopting a medical model. Rather it should represent the many levels of interaction in health: personal, family, community and

professional. Another message should be clear: It is a collaboration among partners with Health Canada as a lead. Does that come across? The names healthinfo and infosante are working titles only.

The categories represented on the Home page attempt to draw out individual health concerns as well as community health concerns and potential for action.


lead to a list of categories based on a population health approach. This page, like many of others on the Internet, had an 'About this page' section and 'hot topics' related to page topic. Have we struck a balance

between too much and too little detail? Both the Child Health link and the Seniors link go to a similar simple search page. Note the introduction of broader community perspectives. Intriguing or confusing?

Are the resource types helpful? complete? overwhelming? Organizations mentioned are only representational.

Look at web-sites through the eyes of an informed consumer and a health intermediary. Does it enable you to fine tune the question?

While thinking along that line, visit the personalization page,

Keeping up with changes and new developments is a difficult task. Note the site Privacy Policy on a web-site page. There should be a clear statement about the level of disclosure collected by the site, the use of that information, as well as legal and regulatory requirements.

Take a look around. When invited to early site browsing, remember that it's not much more than a set of plans and drawings. Your ideas will help shape the reality. Site designers and developers are developing new visual approaches. Please look for and use a Feedback form or link usually near the home page to inform design and development.

A. Simon Mielniczuk