Colorectal cancer information on the internet: how well informed are your patients?: P104

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Aim:Patient usage of medical information websites is expanding rapidly. This study assesses the quality of medical websites with information on colon cancer accessible on the web.Method:We searched the keywords ‘colon cancer’ (English Language) in the most popular three search engines: Google, Yahoo and MSN/Bing. The top 150 websites were evaluated. Readability was assessed using the Gunning-Fog Index (GFI, measure of years of schooling needed to understand content) and the Flesch Reading Ease Score (FRES, index rating - score/100). We then used the LIDA tool to assess the accessibility, usability and reliability.Results:Forty-four appropriate websites were analysed out of 150. Excluded websites: irrelevant (48), repetition (50) and inaccessible (8). The mean GFI result showed the average website was similar to reading the Wall Street Journal (mean GFI = 10.55. SD: 2.31). The mean FRES was 52.68 (SD: 9.79), below the universally recommended target of 60-70. The results of the LIDA medical website validation tool were: accessibility 78.68%, usability 41.73% and reliability 41.73%.Conclusion:We have shown that readability scores of the websites are poor suggesting that they may not be clearly understood. Since patients are likely to be influenced by the internet, it is essential that we guide and help patients identify reliable sources of information.

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