Quality of information on the Internet—has a decade made a difference?
While patients accessing the Internet can be a positive step towards health literacy and self-efficacy, these resources vary in quality.
In 2007, Kulasegarah et al. assessed the information available to patients on the Internet on three common ENT procedures (tonsillectomy, septoplasty, and myringoplasty), looking at the quality of the information in terms of completeness and accuracy. This is a follow-on study to examine how this information has changed after 10 years.
Following a Google search, the top 20 webpages on each of the three ENT procedures, tonsillectomy, septoplasty, and myringoplasty, were analyzed.
Webpages gave on average 50.6% of the critical information a patient should know prior to undergoing surgery. This is a drop from 2007 (65.5%). Over 96.8% were found to have no inaccuracies identified on the available information provided on the websites. This was slightly higher than in 2007 (94.7%). YouTube (10%) and hospital webpages (10%) were among the new subcategories that were not present in the 2007 study.
Due to the reduced completeness of information available to patients online, it is important that health professionals direct patients to appropriate websites if they wish to do their own research.
KeywordsAccuracy Completeness Health Information Internet
We would like to thank Dr. Peter Reid, Statistics Advisor, Auckland City Hospital, for his assistance with statistical analysis.
- 1.EUROSTAT (2016) Internet access and use statistics—households and individuals. http://www.ec.europa.ue/eurostat. Accessed July 26 2017
- 3.InternetLiveStats (2016) New Zealand Internet Users. Elaboration of data by International Telecommunication Union (ITU), World Bank, and United Nations Population Division. http://www.internetlivestats.com. Accessed 17 Jan 2018
- 4.YouTube A (2005) Retrieve July 26, 2017 from http://www.youtube.com/t/about_youtube. Accessed 11 Oct 2017