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Canadian Journal of Gastroenterology
Volume 25, Issue 2, Pages 93-96
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2011/345076
Original Article

Quality of Internet-Based Information on Gastrointestinal Diseases

Vikram Tangri1 and Nilesh Chande1,2

1Department of Medicine, The University of Western Ontario and London Health Sciences Centre, London, Ontario, Canada
2Division of Gastroenterology, The University of Western Ontario and London Health Sciences Centre, London, Ontario, Canada

Received 23 March 2010; Accepted 26 July 2010

Copyright © 2011 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

BACKGROUND: The Internet is becoming an increasingly common source of health information for patients.

OBJECTIVE: To examine the quality of gastrointestinal disease- and symptom-related Internet sites that might be searched by patients.

METHODS: A total of 120 websites were evaluated from July to November 2009 using the DISCERN instrument to determine the quality of content of health and treatment information.

RESULTS: There was substantial variability in the quality of Internet resources regarding gastrointestinal diseases and their symptoms. Information-based and institutional websites were rated highest. Resources related to celiac disease, colon cancer and abdominal pain scored the highest.

CONCLUSIONS: Overall, the quality of web-based resources was variable. Because patient education is important in the management of gastroenterological diseases, the increasing use of the Internet poses new opportunities and challenges for physicians.