Study Design: In this original study, a cross-sectional analysis was performed to evaluate websites with information on cervical disc herniation.
Objectives: The purpose of this study was to assess the source and quality of information regarding cervical disc herniation available to patients on websites.
Summary of Literature Review: Studies have shown that 92% of the Korean population regularly accesses and searches for medical information on websites. While a large amount of information exists on websites, there is a possibility that patients will be misled due to inaccurate information because there are no established criteria for qualitative evaluation. In addition, little research has been conducted on websites that provide information about cervical disc herniation.
Materials and Methods: The search term ‘‘cervical disc herniation’’ was entered into the three most popular search engines in Korea (Naver, Daum, and Google). The first 50 websites displayed by each engine were selected for inclusion in this study and were categorized as academic, commercial, physician, non-physician, government organization, and unspecified. Information was assessed in terms of DISCERN, accuracy, and exhaustivity scores, and a total summary score was calculated for each website.
Results: Among the theoretical total of 150 websites, 83 unique and relevant websites were identified. The distribution by source was as follows: non-physician, 34.9%; physician, 27.7%; commercial, 13.3%; unspecified, 10.8%; academic, 9.6%; and government, 3.6%.
Academic and government websites obtained the highest total summary scores, with statistical significance when compared to other types (p=0.03).
Conclusions: Website information on cervical disc herniation is generally limited. Institutional improvement efforts are needed to foster an environment where patients can receive high-quality medical information, and physician groups should play a central role in this process.