A critical appraisal of internet resources on colorectal cancer

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ObjectiveThe significance of the internet as a source of healthcare information for professionals and public is widely recognized. Access to good quality information is very important for informed decisions making on healthcare issues. This is an introduction to the critical appraisal of clinical information on the internet, discussion of the significance of quality checking of healthcare internet resources and the application of critical appraisal tools to selected internet resources on colorectal cancer care.MethodsInternet resources were identified on the basis of a general criterion that it provides information on colorectal cancer and selected on the basis of explicit inclusion and exclusion criteria. Each selected website is assessed for quality of information with validated criteria.ResultsThe search strategy identified 10 well known internet resources on healthcare information (e.g. Cochrane, NICE) and 12 websites which are dedicated to cancer related information (e.g. CancerBacup, cancer.gov). The websites of NHS Direct, cancerBACUP, cancer.gov, NICE and Cancer Survivors Network were qualified as resources providing good quality information.DiscussionThe critical appraisal process assures quality of the available information and the tool is applicable to all healthcare related internet resources. The process is discussed with respect to colorectal cancer information resources and will be equally useful to healthcare professional and public. The healthcare professionals can apply the tool in practice and advise the public more confidently on internet information.

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