Quality of vascular surgery Web sites on the Internet

Department of Vascular Surgery, Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust, London, United Kingdom. Electronic address: .
Journal of vascular surgery: official publication, the Society for Vascular Surgery [and] International Society for Cardiovascular Surgery, North American Chapter (Impact Factor: 3.02). 07/2012; 56(5):1461-7. DOI: 10.1016/j.jvs.2012.04.058
Source: PubMed


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.

Download full-text


Available from: Ramawad Soobrah, May 02, 2014
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Introduction Controversy exists relating to carotid endarterectomy (CEA) versus carotid artery stenting (CAS). We aimed to assess the quality of online patient information relating to both. Methods The Google search engine was searched for “carotid endarterectomy” and “carotid stenting”. The first 50 webpages returned were assessed. The Gunning Fog Index (GFI) and Flesch Reading Ease Score (FRES) were calculated to assess readability. The LIDA tool (Minervation Ltd., Oxford, U.K.) was used to assess accessibility, usability and reliability. Results 20% (n=10) of the webpages returned for CEA were from peer reviewed sources with 34% (n=17) posted by hospitals or health services. Comparatively, for CAS, 40% (n=20) were peer reviewed with 16% (n=8) posted by hospitals or health services. GFI and FRES scores indicated webpages for both CEA and CAS had poor general readability. Webpages for CEA were easier to read than those for CAS (mean FRES difference of 6.7 (95% CI 0.51 to 12.93, p=0.03). Median LIDA scores demonstrated acceptable reliability, accessibility and usability of information for both CEA and CAS webpages. The more readable webpages were not associated with higher LIDA scores for either CEA or CAS webpages. Conclusion Webpages providing information on carotid disease management must be made more readable. Online information currently available to patients regarding CAS is more difficult to read and comprehend than CEA.
    No preview · Article · Jan 2013 · International Journal of Surgery (London, England)
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: In this paper, we evaluate a sample of urologists' web-sites, based in the United States, using three validated instruments: the Health on the Net Foundation code of conduct (HONcode), DISCERN and LIDA tools. We also discuss how medical websites can be improved. We used the 10 most populous cities in America, identified from the US Census Bureau, and searched using com to find the first 10 websites using the terms "urologist + city." Each website was scored using the HONcode, DISCERN and LIDA instruments. The median score for each tool was used to dichotomize the cohort and multivariable logistic regression was used to identify independent predictors of higher scores. Of the 100 websites found, 78 were analyzed. There were 18 academic institutions, 43 group and 17 solo practices. A medical website design service had been used by 18 websites. The HONcode badge was seen on 3 websites (4%). Social media was used by 16 websites. Multivariable logistic regression showed predictors of higher scores for each tool. For HONcode, academic centres (OR 6.8, CI 1.2-37.3, p = 0.028) and the use of a medical website design service (OR 17.2, CI 3.8-78.1, p = 0.001) predicted a higher score. With DISCERN, academic centres (OR 23.13, p = 0.002, CI 3.15-169.9 and group practices (OR 7.19, p = 0.022, CI 1.33-38.93) were predictors of higher scores. Finally, with the LIDA tool, there were no predictors of higher scores. Pearson correlation did not show any correlation between the three scores. Using 3 validated tools for appraising online health information, we found a wide variation in the quality of urologists' websites in the United States. Increased awareness of standards and available resources, coupled with guidance from health professional regulatory bodies, would improve the quality urological health information on medical websites.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2013 · Canadian Urological Association journal = Journal de l'Association des urologues du Canada

  • No preview · Article · Apr 2013 · Journal of vascular surgery: official publication, the Society for Vascular Surgery [and] International Society for Cardiovascular Surgery, North American Chapter
Show more