Quality of vascular surgery Web sites on the Internet.
ABSTRACT This study evaluated the readability, accessibility, usability, and reliability of vascular surgery information on the Internet in the English language.
The Google, Yahoo, and MSN/Bing search engines were searched for "carotid endarterectomy," "EVAR or endovascular aneurysm repair," and "varicose veins or varicose veins surgery." The first 50 Web sites from each search engine for each topic were analyzed. The Flesch Reading Ease Score and Gunning Fog Index were calculated to assess readability. The LIDA tool (Minervation Ltd, Oxford, UK) was used to assess accessibility, usability, and reliability.
The Web sites were difficult to read and comprehend. The mean Flesch Reading Ease scores were 53.53 for carotid endarterectomy, 50.53 for endovascular aneurysm repair, and 58.59 for varicose veins. The mean Gunning Fog Index scores were 12.3 for carotid endarterectomy, 12.12 for endovascular aneurysm repair, and 10.69 for varicose veins. The LIDA values for accessibility were good, but the results for usability and reliability were poor.
Internet information on vascular surgical conditions and procedures is poorly written and unreliable. We suggest that health professionals should recommend Web sites that are easy to read and contain high-quality surgical information. Medical information on the Internet must be readable, accessible, usable, and reliable.