Quality of information on the Internet—has a decade made a difference?

  • Jeyanthi Kulasegarah
  • Kassandra McGregor
  • Murali Mahadevan
Original Article

Abstract

Background

While patients accessing the Internet can be a positive step towards health literacy and self-efficacy, these resources vary in quality.

Aims

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.

Methods

Following a Google search, the top 20 webpages on each of the three ENT procedures, tonsillectomy, septoplasty, and myringoplasty, were analyzed.

Results

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.

Conclusions

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.

Keywords

Accuracy Completeness Health Information Internet 

Notes

Acknowledgements

We would like to thank Dr. Peter Reid, Statistics Advisor, Auckland City Hospital, for his assistance with statistical analysis.

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Copyright information

© Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jeyanthi Kulasegarah
    • 1
  • Kassandra McGregor
    • 1
  • Murali Mahadevan
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Otolaryngology, Head and Neck SurgeryStarship Children’s HospitalAucklandNew Zealand
  2. 2.University of AucklandAucklandNew Zealand

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