Telemed J E Health - Adapting the content of cancer web sites to the information needs of patients: reliability and readability.


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CKGROUND: People who use the Internet to research health topics do not usually find all the information they need and do not trust what they read. This study was designed to assess the reliability, accessibility, readability, and popularity of cancer Web sites in Spanish and to analyze the suitability of Web site content in accordance with the specific information needs of cancer patients.MATERIALS AND METHODS: This was a two-phase, cross-sectional, descriptive study. The first phase involved data gathering through online searches and direct observation. The second phase involved individual structured interviews with 169 patients with breast, prostate, bladder, and kidney cancer. Spearman rank correlations were calculated between variables.RESULTS: Most sites belonged to nonprofit organizations, followed by universities or medical centers (14%). Thirty-one percent of the Web sites had quality seals, 59% provided details of authorship, 62% provided references to bibliographic sources, 38% identified their funding sources, and 54% showed the date of their last update. Twenty-one percent of the Web sites did not meet the minimum accessibility criteria. With regard to readability, 24% of the texts were considered to be "quite difficult." Patients' information needs vary depending on the type of cancer they have, although all patients want to know about the likelihood of a cure, survival rates, the side effects, and risks of treatment.CONCLUSIONS: The health information on cancer available on the Internet in Spanish is not very reliable, accessible, or readable and is not necessarily the information that breast, kidney, prostate, and bladder cancer patients require. The content of cancer Web sites needs to be assessed according to the information needs of patients.

Resumo Limpo

ckground peopl use internet research health topic usual find inform need trust read studi design assess reliabl access readabl popular cancer web site spanish analyz suitabl web site content accord specif inform need cancer patientsmateri method twophas crosssect descript studi first phase involv data gather onlin search direct observ second phase involv individu structur interview patient breast prostat bladder kidney cancer spearman rank correl calcul variablesresult site belong nonprofit organ follow univers medic center thirtyon percent web site qualiti seal provid detail authorship provid refer bibliograph sourc identifi fund sourc show date last updat twentyon percent web site meet minimum access criteria regard readabl text consid quit difficult patient inform need vari depend type cancer although patient want know likelihood cure surviv rate side effect risk treatmentconclus health inform cancer avail internet spanish reliabl access readabl necessarili inform breast kidney prostat bladder cancer patient requir content cancer web site need assess accord inform need patient

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