Online Tonsillectomy Resources: Are Parents Getting Consistent and Readable Recommendations?

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Abstract

Objective

Parents frequently refer to information on the Internet to confirm or broaden their understanding of surgical procedures and to research postoperative care practices. Our study evaluated the readability, comprehensiveness, and consistency around online recommendations directed at parents of children undergoing tonsillectomy.

Study Design

A cross-sectional study design was employed.

Setting

Thirty English-language Internet websites.

Subjects and Methods

Three validated measures of readability were applied and content analysis was employed to evaluate the comprehensiveness of information in domains of perioperative education. Frequency effect sizes and percentile ranks were calculated to measure dispersion of recommendations across sites.

Results

The mean readability level of all sites was above a grade 10 level with fewer than half of the sites (n = 14, 47%) scoring at or below the eight-grade level. Provided information was often incomplete with a noted lack of psychosocial support and skills-training recommendations. Content analysis showed 67 unique recommendations spanning the full perioperative period. Most recommendations had low consensus, being reported in 5 or fewer sites (frequency effect size <16%).

Conclusion

Many online parent-focused resources do not meet readability recommendations, portray incomplete education about perioperative care and expectations, and provide recommendations with low levels of consensus. Up-to-date mapping of the research evidence around recommendations is needed as well as improved efforts to make online information easier to read.

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