Web Medica Acreditada, WMA


Medical Associations are public institutions with a legally established mission to represent medical practitioners as a whole. The Medical Association of Barcelona (COMB) represents the medical profession of Barcelona and all of its regions and was created to defend the interests of the medical profession and ensure that it adheres to ethical and scientific norms in order to offer the best healthcare services to society. As the volume of medical information on the Internet has grown rapidly and is difficult to control, COMB emphasizes the necessity to contribute to the accreditation of online medical/healthcare information and the importance of offering support and assistance, whenever necessary, to physicians, consumers and institutions who wish to access this information and be present on the Internet.

For this reason, COMB promotes the Web Médica Acreditada, WMA (Certified Medical Web Site Seal) (http://wma.comb.es) which was established in 1999. This seal, created to serve as a virtual reference point of the medical community, seeks to establish a set of norms that the owners of medical and healthcare websites can voluntarily follow from Spain and Latin America to offer consumers good quality Internet health services. The WMA has established a process of certification applying its recommendations and guiding web sites to improve their quality. Up to now, the WMA has accredited more than 230 health websites in Spain and in Latin America.

WMA also was a partner in the MedCIRCLE project that was funded by the European Union under the Action Plan for Safer Use of the Internet. MedCIRCLE - a collaboration of European health subject gateways or rating services - builds on and continues work on rating health information on the Internet piloted within the MedCERTAIN project. Both projects - MedCIRCLE and MedCERTAIN - are complementary semantic web projects with the overall objective to develop and promote technologies able to guide consumers to trustworthy health information on the Internet, to establish a global web of trust for networked health information, and to empower consumers to positively select high quality health information on the web.

COMB also develops other initiatives such as digital signature to apply to different medical activities, the PAIMM service (integral care programme for sick physicians) which is the first of its kind in Europe, and the digital prescription in collaboration with the Pharmaceutical Association of Barcelona. COMB also is a partner in the QUATRO project that began in 2005 and is funded by the European Union under the Action Plan for Safer User of the Internet. The Quality Assurance and Content Description project (QUATRO) aims to help internet users find what they want, trust what they find and avoid material that, for whatever reason, they choose not to see. This will be achieved by devising a common method that can be used by quality labelling and rating schemes, privacy and security policies, classification and discovery metadata, permission and rights management systems.