Barrett's esophagus: patient information and the Internet. The patient's perspective

Dis Esophagus. 2003;16(2):57-9. doi: 10.1046/j.1442-2050.2003.00295.x.


Barrett's esophagus is being diagnosed more frequently in the UK. Today patients are encouraged to be actively involved in the treatment decision-making process. To do this they must receive adequate information and, more importantly, understand it. In patients with Barrett's, this information is often given to the patient immediately following an endoscopy, when patients find it difficult to absorb. The Internet can provide patients with up-to-the-minute information that they can digest in their own time. The aim of this study was to assess the current information given to patients and their views on using the Internet for these purposes. A postal questionnaire was devised, and sent to the 267 patients with Barrett's. The questionnaire sought to determine the source and quality of current patient information, and patients' willingness to use the Internet for medical information. One hundred and ninety-five (73%) questionnaires were returned. One hundred and fifty-three patients (78.5%) of those who responded stated they wanted more information about their condition. Sixty-eight patients (33.8%) had Internet access. One hundred and five (53.8%) patients stated that they would use an Internet site if access were available. The average age of this group was 58.7 years. Seventy-nine (40.5%) stated they would not use an Internet site; their average age was 69.4 years. Current patient information is often inadequate. A significant proportion of the patients would use the Internet. Those who had already used the Internet to access information found existing sites to be very 'American', and presented in a way that made them difficult for a layperson to understand. It is essential that patients have adequate information in a format they can access and understand.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Attitude to Health
  • Awareness
  • Barrett Esophagus* / diagnosis
  • Barrett Esophagus* / psychology
  • Esophagoscopy
  • Humans
  • Internet*
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Education as Topic*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires