Burns first aid information on the Internet

Burns. 2006 Nov;32(7):897-901. doi: 10.1016/j.burns.2006.02.020. Epub 2006 Sep 26.


The Internet is an increasingly important source of health-related information. However, the growth of the Internet and its use as a medical delivery tool should be viewed with caution. One of the key concerns is that although the volume of information is huge, the quality, accuracy and completeness of the information is questionable. The aim of this study was to evaluate burns first aid information on the Internet. The search term used was "first aid for burns" and the first 25 hits from each search engine were analysed by one of the observers. We gathered basic information on the web sites--such as the country of origin, language in which the information was offered, accessibility, relevance and whether the site was commercial, organisational or academic. Quality and technicality of the web sites were assessed and scored. The mean quality score was 4.7/15 (31.5%) The mean technical score was 6.1 of 12 (51.1%). When the total score was categorised by percentage, none of the web sites ranked in the excellent category, 1 was very good, 4 were good, 6 were fair and the majority, 36, were poor. Based on the quality score only, two web sites were in the excellent category and two were very good. For technicality one web site was excellent and three were very good. This study has shown first aid information on the Internet is largely of poor quality, that the technical information provided is inadequate and that the sites include a significant amount of grossly inaccurate information. The few sites that contain excellent technical information make up a very small proportion of what is available. Therefore, the average Internet user may not encounter these resources, instead gaining knowledge from sites of questionable value.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Burns / therapy*
  • First Aid / methods
  • First Aid / standards*
  • Humans
  • Information Storage and Retrieval / methods
  • Information Storage and Retrieval / standards
  • Internet / standards*
  • Medical Informatics / methods
  • Medical Informatics / standards*