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Sadat U, Chang G, Sorani A, Walsh S, Gaunt M
Carotid artery stenosis: does the world wide web provide sufficient information to these patients?
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As the use of the Internet is at its highest at present, it is reasonable to assume that patients suffering from carotid artery stenosis and its complications may use this as a potential source of information prior to hospital attendance. The relevant Web sites were initially identified and the quality of information therein was assessed independently by two assessors on the author panel. We also tested whether established Web site scoring systems (HON and DISCERN score) could predict the quality of information included on the medical Web sites. The overall quality of relevant information for these patients was found to be poor. The Spearman rank correlation between the two scoring systems was /0.64 (95% confidence interval [CI] 0.53-0.74, p < .0001). There was a good correlation between the assessors' scores for each scoring system, with a Spearman rank correlation for the DISCERN score of 0.99 (95% CI 0.99-0.99, p < .0001) and for the HON score of 0.98 (95% CI 0.97-0.98, p < .0001). We also found a good correlation between these scores and guidelines set by the assessors. Available scoring systems provide a good means of assessment. However, significant improvement is required to enhance the overall quality of health-related Web sites.
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