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Direct to consumer advertising via the Internet, a study of hip resurfacing

Ogunwale, B and Clarke, J and Young, D and Mohammed, A and Patil, S and Meek, R M D (2009) Direct to consumer advertising via the Internet, a study of hip resurfacing. Scottish Medical Journal, 54 (1). pp. 10-13. ISSN 0036-9330

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Abstract

With increased use of the internet for health information and direct to consumer advertising from medical companies, there is a concern about the quality of the information available for patients. The aim of this study was to examine the quality of health information on the internet for hip resurfacing. An assessment tool was designed to measure quality of information. Websites were measured on credibility of source; usability; currentness of the information; content relevance; content accuracy/completeness and disclosure/bias. Each website assessed was given a total score, based on number of scores achieved from the above categories websites were further analysed on author, geographical origin and possession of an independent credibility check. There was positive correlation between the overall score for the website and the score of each website in each assessment category. Websites by implant companies, doctors and hospitals scored poorly. Websites with an independent credibility check such as Health on the Net (HoN) scored twice the total scores of websites without. Like other internet health websites, the quality of information on hip resurfacing websites is variable. This study highlights methods by which to assess the quality of health information on the internet and advocates that patients should look for a statement of an "independent credibility check" when searching for information on hip resurfacing.