Background & aims: The efficacy of colorectal cancer (CRC) screening is dependent on participation and subsequent adherence to surveillance. The internet increasingly is used for health information and is important to support decision making. We evaluated the accuracy, quality, and readability of online information on CRC screening and surveillance.
Methods: A Website Accuracy Score and Polyp Score were developed, which awarded points for various aspects of CRC screening and surveillance. Websites also were evaluated using validated internet quality instruments (Global Quality Score, LIDA, and DISCERN), and reading scores. Two raters independently assessed the top 30 websites appearing on Google.com. Portals, duplicates, and news articles were excluded.
Results: Twenty websites were included. The mean website accuracy score was 26 of 44 (range, 9-41). Websites with the highest scores were www.cancer.org, www.bowelcanceraustralia.org, and www.uptodate.com. The median polyp score was 3 of 10. The median global quality score was 3 of 5 (range, 2-5). The median overall LIDA score was 74% and the median DISCERN score was 45, both indicating moderate quality. The mean Flesch-Kincaid grade level was 11th grade, rating the websites as difficult to read, 30% had a reading level acceptable for the general public (Flesch Reading Ease > 60). There was no correlation between the Google rank and the website accuracy score (rs = -0.31; P = .18).
Conclusions: There is marked variation in quality and readability of websites on CRC screening. Most websites do not address polyp surveillance. The poor correlation between quality and Google ranking suggests that screenees will miss out on high-quality websites using standard search strategies.
Keywords: Adenoma; Colonoscopy; Consumer Health Information; Fecal Occult Blood Test; Patient Information; Worldwide Web.
Copyright © 2017 AGA Institute. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.