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Quality of Information About Bariatric Surgery on the Internet: A Two-Continent Comparison of Website Content

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Abstract

Background

Many patients considering bariatric surgery will obtain medical information through the Internet. The type and quality of information patients access may vary significantly by geographic region.

Methods

Searches were performed using commercial search engines in both the United States of America (USA) and United Arab Emirates (UAE) using search terms “bariatric surgery” and “weight loss surgery.” Quality was assessed using the scoring systems previously published by DISCERN (United Kingdom (UK)), the Journal of the American Medical Association Benchmark (JAMA; USA), and Expanded Ensuring Quality Information for Patients (EQIP) (UK).

Results

Website types were more evenly distributed in UAE, though physician websites were also the most common (n = 25, 25%). Within the USA, most websites analyzed were from physicians (n = 32, 32%), followed by academic sources (n = 26, 26%). Academic websites were the highest average quality in the USA (p < .00001). The overall mean DISCERN scores for all websites in the UAE group and US group had no statistically significance differences (p = .950). The overall mean JAMA Benchmark for all websites in the UAE group and USA had no statistically significance differences (p = 0.202). There were no major differences between the USA and UAE in Expanded EQIP scores.

Conclusions

The overall quality of information regarding bariatric surgery is poor to fair in both the USA and UAE. Additionally, there are differences in the types of sites retrieved by the most commonly used search engines in each region. The lack of high-quality, evidence-based, information regarding bariatric surgery online is a potential target to improve public education.

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Author information

Correspondence to Ricard Corcelles.

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Barajas-Gamboa, J.S., Klingler, M., Landreneau, J. et al. Quality of Information About Bariatric Surgery on the Internet: A Two-Continent Comparison of Website Content. OBES SURG (2020) doi:10.1007/s11695-019-04375-5

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Keywords

  • Bariatric surgery
  • Weight loss surgery
  • Internet
  • Quality
  • Website
  • Information