What do patients know about their low back pain? An analysis of the quality of information available on the Internet

Fabio Galbusera, Marco Brayda-Bruno, Maren Freutel, Andreas Seitz, Malte Steiner, Esther Wehrle, Hans Joachim Wilke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Previous surveys showed a poor quality of the web sites providing health information about low back pain. However, the rapid and continuous evolution of the Internet content may question the current validity of those investigations. The present study is aimed to quantitatively assess the quality of the Internet information about low back pain retrieved with the most commonly employed search engines. An Internet search with the keywords «low back pain» has been performed with Google, Yahoo!® and Bing™ in the English language. The top 30 hits obtained with each search engine were evaluated by five independent raters and averaged following criteria derived from previous works. All search results were categorized as declaring compliant to a quality standard for health information (e.g. HONCode) or not and based on the web site type (Institutional, Free informative, Commercial, News, Social Network, Unknown). The quality of the hits retrieved by the three search engines was extremely similar. The web sites had a clear purpose, were easy to navigate, and mostly lacked in validity and quality of the provided links. The conformity to a quality standard was correlated with a marked greater quality of the web sites in all respects. Institutional web sites had the best validity and ease of use. Free informative web sites had good quality but a markedly lower validity compared to Institutional websites. Commercial web sites provided more biased information. News web sites were well designed and easy to use, but lacked in validity. The average quality of the hits retrieved by the most commonly employed search engines could be defined as satisfactory and favorably comparable with previous investigations. Awareness of the user about checking the quality of the information remains of concern.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)447-455
Number of pages9
JournalTechnology and Health Care
Volume20
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2012

Fingerprint

Search Engine
Low Back Pain
Internet
Websites
Search engines
Health
Social Support
Language

Keywords

  • HONCode
  • Internet
  • low back pain
  • quality of information
  • search engine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biomaterials
  • Bioengineering
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Information Systems
  • Health Informatics
  • Medicine(all)

Cite this

What do patients know about their low back pain? An analysis of the quality of information available on the Internet. / Galbusera, Fabio; Brayda-Bruno, Marco; Freutel, Maren; Seitz, Andreas; Steiner, Malte; Wehrle, Esther; Wilke, Hans Joachim.

In: Technology and Health Care, Vol. 20, No. 6, 2012, p. 447-455.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Galbusera, Fabio ; Brayda-Bruno, Marco ; Freutel, Maren ; Seitz, Andreas ; Steiner, Malte ; Wehrle, Esther ; Wilke, Hans Joachim. / What do patients know about their low back pain? An analysis of the quality of information available on the Internet. In: Technology and Health Care. 2012 ; Vol. 20, No. 6. pp. 447-455.
@article{cec65053717648939a004bbc31c52eba,
title = "What do patients know about their low back pain? An analysis of the quality of information available on the Internet",
abstract = "Previous surveys showed a poor quality of the web sites providing health information about low back pain. However, the rapid and continuous evolution of the Internet content may question the current validity of those investigations. The present study is aimed to quantitatively assess the quality of the Internet information about low back pain retrieved with the most commonly employed search engines. An Internet search with the keywords «low back pain» has been performed with Google, Yahoo!{\circledR} and Bing™ in the English language. The top 30 hits obtained with each search engine were evaluated by five independent raters and averaged following criteria derived from previous works. All search results were categorized as declaring compliant to a quality standard for health information (e.g. HONCode) or not and based on the web site type (Institutional, Free informative, Commercial, News, Social Network, Unknown). The quality of the hits retrieved by the three search engines was extremely similar. The web sites had a clear purpose, were easy to navigate, and mostly lacked in validity and quality of the provided links. The conformity to a quality standard was correlated with a marked greater quality of the web sites in all respects. Institutional web sites had the best validity and ease of use. Free informative web sites had good quality but a markedly lower validity compared to Institutional websites. Commercial web sites provided more biased information. News web sites were well designed and easy to use, but lacked in validity. The average quality of the hits retrieved by the most commonly employed search engines could be defined as satisfactory and favorably comparable with previous investigations. Awareness of the user about checking the quality of the information remains of concern.",
keywords = "HONCode, Internet, low back pain, quality of information, search engine",
author = "Fabio Galbusera and Marco Brayda-Bruno and Maren Freutel and Andreas Seitz and Malte Steiner and Esther Wehrle and Wilke, {Hans Joachim}",
year = "2012",
doi = "10.3233/THC-2012-0682",
language = "English",
volume = "20",
pages = "447--455",
journal = "Technology and Health Care",
issn = "0928-7329",
publisher = "IOS Press",
number = "6",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - What do patients know about their low back pain? An analysis of the quality of information available on the Internet

AU - Galbusera, Fabio

AU - Brayda-Bruno, Marco

AU - Freutel, Maren

AU - Seitz, Andreas

AU - Steiner, Malte

AU - Wehrle, Esther

AU - Wilke, Hans Joachim

PY - 2012

Y1 - 2012

N2 - Previous surveys showed a poor quality of the web sites providing health information about low back pain. However, the rapid and continuous evolution of the Internet content may question the current validity of those investigations. The present study is aimed to quantitatively assess the quality of the Internet information about low back pain retrieved with the most commonly employed search engines. An Internet search with the keywords «low back pain» has been performed with Google, Yahoo!® and Bing™ in the English language. The top 30 hits obtained with each search engine were evaluated by five independent raters and averaged following criteria derived from previous works. All search results were categorized as declaring compliant to a quality standard for health information (e.g. HONCode) or not and based on the web site type (Institutional, Free informative, Commercial, News, Social Network, Unknown). The quality of the hits retrieved by the three search engines was extremely similar. The web sites had a clear purpose, were easy to navigate, and mostly lacked in validity and quality of the provided links. The conformity to a quality standard was correlated with a marked greater quality of the web sites in all respects. Institutional web sites had the best validity and ease of use. Free informative web sites had good quality but a markedly lower validity compared to Institutional websites. Commercial web sites provided more biased information. News web sites were well designed and easy to use, but lacked in validity. The average quality of the hits retrieved by the most commonly employed search engines could be defined as satisfactory and favorably comparable with previous investigations. Awareness of the user about checking the quality of the information remains of concern.

AB - Previous surveys showed a poor quality of the web sites providing health information about low back pain. However, the rapid and continuous evolution of the Internet content may question the current validity of those investigations. The present study is aimed to quantitatively assess the quality of the Internet information about low back pain retrieved with the most commonly employed search engines. An Internet search with the keywords «low back pain» has been performed with Google, Yahoo!® and Bing™ in the English language. The top 30 hits obtained with each search engine were evaluated by five independent raters and averaged following criteria derived from previous works. All search results were categorized as declaring compliant to a quality standard for health information (e.g. HONCode) or not and based on the web site type (Institutional, Free informative, Commercial, News, Social Network, Unknown). The quality of the hits retrieved by the three search engines was extremely similar. The web sites had a clear purpose, were easy to navigate, and mostly lacked in validity and quality of the provided links. The conformity to a quality standard was correlated with a marked greater quality of the web sites in all respects. Institutional web sites had the best validity and ease of use. Free informative web sites had good quality but a markedly lower validity compared to Institutional websites. Commercial web sites provided more biased information. News web sites were well designed and easy to use, but lacked in validity. The average quality of the hits retrieved by the most commonly employed search engines could be defined as satisfactory and favorably comparable with previous investigations. Awareness of the user about checking the quality of the information remains of concern.

KW - HONCode

KW - Internet

KW - low back pain

KW - quality of information

KW - search engine

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84874385407&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=84874385407&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.3233/THC-2012-0682

DO - 10.3233/THC-2012-0682

M3 - Article

C2 - 23187011

AN - SCOPUS:84874385407

VL - 20

SP - 447

EP - 455

JO - Technology and Health Care

JF - Technology and Health Care

SN - 0928-7329

IS - 6

ER -