American Association of Endocrine Surgeon| Volume 146, ISSUE 6, P1123-1129, December 2009

World wide what? The quality of information on parathyroid disease available on the Internet


      Patients are relying on the Internet with greater frequency to learn about diseases and make medical decisions. We hypothesized that there is a disparity between the perceptions of patients and those of surgeons regarding the quality of information about primary hyperparathyroidism on the Internet.


      Patients (n = 62) with primary hyperparathyroidism seen in endocrine surgery clinics in France and the United States responded to a survey regarding their use of the Internet to prepare for upcoming parathyroid surgery. A panel of endocrine surgeons reviewed the top “hits” retrieved from Web sites related to parathyroid disease. Sites were rated using a previously validated Web site quality scoring system.


      A total of 75% of the American cohort and 53% of the French cohort used the Internet to prepare for parathyroid surgery. The majority of these patients reported that the information was “somewhat to very accurate.” The panel of surgeons gave the Web sites an overall average qualitative score of 8.6 (53%).


      Surgeons and patients have different perceptions as to what constitutes a high-quality Web site. As patients depend more on the Internet to prepare for parathyroid surgery, there is an opportunity and a clear need to create comprehensive, high-quality, patient-oriented Web sites on this topic.
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