Content, Readability, and Accountability of Freely Available Online Information for Patients Regarding Epiretinal Membranes

David W. Redick, Jodi C. Hwang, Amy Kloosterboer, Nicolas A. Yannuzzi, Nimesh A. Patel, Ajay Kuriyan, Jayanth Sridhar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Purpose: To assess content, readability, and accountability of online information for patients regarding epiretinal membranes (ERMs). Methods: Cross-sectional study evaluating nine major medical websites on ERMs. Fifteen questions assessed patient-relevant content. Four indices estimated U.S. grade literacy level of the text. JAMA benchmarks (authorship, attribution, disclosure, currency) evaluated website accountability. Results: Average content score was 36.78 (SD 13.91, 95% CI ±0.64) from a possible maximum of 60, with significant variability between websites (H = 22.68, p=0.004). Mean reading grade level was 12.29 (SD 2.30, 95% CI ±1.50). No website achieved all JAMA benchmarks; only one website fulfilled three of the four. Content score did not correlate with Google rank (order of listed websites, r = −0.23, p=0.55) or JAMA benchmarks (r = 0.19, p=0.62) but significantly correlated with mean reading grade (r = 0.67, p=0.05). Conclusion: Online information regarding ERMs varies significantly, may not adequately answer common patient questions, and is written at too complex a literacy level for the average patient.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalSeminars in Ophthalmology
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2021

Keywords

  • Consumer health informatics
  • epiretinal membrane
  • internet
  • patient education

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology

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