The Quality and Readability of Information Available on the Internet Regarding Lumbar Fusion
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CitationZhang, Dafang, Charles Schumacher, Mitchel B. Harris, and Christopher M. Bono. 2015. “The Quality and Readability of Information Available on the Internet Regarding Lumbar Fusion.” Global Spine Journal 6 (2): 133-138. doi:10.1055/s-0035-1557145. http://dx.doi.org/10.1055/s-0035-1557145.
AbstractStudy Design An Internet-based evaluation of Web sites regarding lumbar fusion. Objective: The Internet has become a major resource for patients; however, the quality and readability of Internet information regarding lumbar fusion is unclear. The objective of this study is to evaluate the quality and readability of Internet information regarding lumbar fusion and to determine whether these measures changed with Web site modality, complexity of the search term, or Health on the Net Code of Conduct certification. Methods: Using five search engines and three different search terms of varying complexity (“low back fusion,” “lumbar fusion,” and “lumbar arthrodesis”), we identified and reviewed 153 unique Web site hits for information quality and readability. Web sites were specifically analyzed by search term and Web site modality. Information quality was evaluated on a 5-point scale. Information readability was assessed using the Flesch-Kincaid score for reading grade level. Results: The average quality score was low. The average reading grade level was nearly six grade levels above that recommended by National Work Group on Literacy and Health. The quality and readability of Internet information was significantly dependent on Web site modality. The use of more complex search terms yielded information of higher reading grade level but not higher quality. Conclusions: Higher-quality information about lumbar fusion conveyed using language that is more readable by the general public is needed on the Internet. It is important for health care providers to be aware of the information accessible to patients, as it likely influences their decision making regarding care.
Citable link to this pagehttp://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:26318649
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