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ABSTRACT: The quality of information related to pelvic floor disorders is varied and understudied. Using a validated instrument we evaluated the quality of selected websites addressing treatment options for pelvic organ prolapse (POP) and stress urinary incontinence (SUI).
English-language, patient-focused professional, governmental, and consumer websites related to POP and SUI were identified using the International Urogynecology Association (IUGA) list of continence societies worldwide, search terms, and provider nomination. Websites were evaluated by 10 providers at an academic medical center, representing urogynecology (6), urology (3), and general gynecology (1). Quality assessment utilized the DISCERN instrument, a validated instrument consisting of 16 questions addressing the quality of consumer health information.
Websites of 13 organizations met inclusion criteria and were assessed, 12 relating to SUI and 8 to POP. The websites with the highest mean total DISCERN score for POP were those of the IUGA, the American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons, and the American Urogynecologic Association, and for SUI, the National Association For Continence, the American Urological Association, and the IUGA. High correlations were obtained for the total DISCERN score and the overall quality scores for POP (0.76) and SUI (0.82). The most commonly omitted components of the DISCERN instrument were a clear statement of the content objectives, references or sources of the content, and a discussion of what patients could expect if they opted for no intervention.
Available English-language professional websites written to inform patients about management choices for SUI and POP miss key components of quality patient information.
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