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Interactive Health Communication Icon  IHC Application Checklist

It is important to remember that not all information is created equal. This checklist of questions was created by the SciPICH to help you judge whether health information offered by an interactive health communication (IHC) application is useful and reliable.

Print this page and use as a quick guide when evaluating an IHC application.

Name of Application: 


Background of Developers/Sponsors

  • Is the identity of the developers and sponsors clearly stated?    
  • Do the developers have expertise (or use experts) in the content area?   
  • Is there a mechanism to contact the developers?  
  • Does the application disclose any potential conflicts of interest or biases of the developers and sponsors?   


  • Does the application state its specific purpose?   
  • Does the application state the intended audience(s) and specific health issue(s) it addresses?  
  • Do the application’s purpose and objectives match the likely needs of its intended users?   


  • Is the original source(s) of the content identified?    
  • Is the original source(s) of the content likely to be reliable and without bias?  
  • Is the content sufficiently current to ensure that it is accurate and up-to-date?   
  • Is the application’s method of ensuring the validity of its content reasonable?   


  • If relevant, does the application specify whether and how users' personal information and anonymity are protected?   
  • If relevant, does the application specify who has access to information about its users?  


  • Is the application easy to use?   
  • Are the reading/comprehension level, graphics, audio, and other multimedia features appropriate for the intended user?   
  • Does it require special and/or high level technology?

Evaluation Results and Effectiveness

  • Do the developers provide any evaluation results about the effectiveness or impact of the application in the following areas?

If yes, please identify:

__ usability of application 
__ user satisfaction   
__ changes in user knowledge or attitudes  
__ changes in health behaviors  
__ changes in health status (morbidity or mortality)  
__ changes in costs or use of resources

If evaluation results are available:

  • Did the application specify the funding source for the evaluation and potential conflicts of interest of the evaluators?  
  • Was the evaluation conducted with people similar to the intended target group of the application?
  • Did the evaluation compare users to non-users?

    If yes, were evaluation participants randomly assigned to being users or non-users?
    If no, did the evaluation results include a rationale for caution and other possible explanations for the results?

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How does the SciPICH Web site measure up with this list?—find out by viewing the SciPICH checklist results!

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Source: The Science Panel on Interactive Communication and Health, April 1998

Comments:   Updated: 05/01/08