Assessing the Reliability and Quality of Online Uterine Fibroid Embolization Resources
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PURPOSE: This study was designed to examine the best internet resources about uterine fibroid embolization (UFE) pertinent to medical trainees, radiologists, gynecologists, family physicians, and patients. METHODS: The terms "uterine fibroid embolization," "uterine fibroid embolization," and "uterine artery embolization" were entered into Google, Yahoo, and Bing search engines; the top 20 hits were assessed. The hits were categorized as organizational or nonorganizational. Additionally, 23 radiological and obstetrical organizations were assessed. The DISCERN instrument and Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) benchmarks (authorship, attribution, currency, disclosure) were used to assess the information critically. The scope, strength, weaknesses, and unique features were highlighted for the top five organizational and nonorganizational websites. RESULTS: A total of 203 websites were reviewed; 23 were removed in accordance with the exclusion criteria and 146 were duplicate websites, for a total of 34 unique sites. It was found that 35 % (12/34 websites) were organizational (family medicine, radiology, obstetrics/gynecology) and 65 % (22/34 websites) were nonorganizational (teaching or patient resources). The overall mean DISCERN score was 49.6 (10.7). Two-tailed, unpaired t test demonstrated no statistically significant difference between organizational and nonorganizational websites (p = 0.101). JAMA benchmarks revealed 44 % (15/34 websites) with authorship, 71 % (24/34 websites) with attribution, 68 % (23/34 websites) with disclosure, and 47 % (16/34 websites) with currency. CONCLUSIONS: The overall quality of websites for UFE is moderate, with important but not serious shortcomings. The best websites provided relevant information about the procedure, benefits/risks, and were interactive. DISCERN scores were compromised by sites failing to provide resources for shared decision-making, additional support, and discussing consequence of no treatment. JAMA benchmarks revealed lack of authorship and currency.
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