- •We assess websites for authorship, content, and presence of advertisements.
- •We compare changes of website quality using a more technical search term.
- •Websites may be driven by financial incentives more than patient education.
- •There was variability in website quality between Google, Yahoo!, and Bing.
- •Using a technical search term provided superior websites for patient education.
Evaluating patient education material regarding unicompartmental knee arthroplastyWong, Kevin; Mohan, Rohith; Yi, Paul H; Hansen, Erik N
Variability in quality and accuracy of information has been well documented in other orthopedic procedures. Given the growing role of the Internet in patient education, it is important to assess the quality of material provided. The purpose of this study was to evaluate online patient education materials regarding unicompartmental knee arthroplasty (UKA).
The first 50 websites generated from a search of the term, partial knee replacement, using three search engines, Google, Yahoo!, and Bing, were analyzed for quality, content, and authorship. Categorical data between the three search engines were compared using the Freeman–Halton extension for the Fisher’s exact test. Fisher’s exact test was used to compare categorical data between the search terms partial knee replacement and unicompartmental knee arthroplasty.
Most websites mentioned benefits of UKA (69%) but only a minority (39%) mentioned risks. A more technical search term, unicompartmental knee arthroplasty, yielded fewer websites authored by manufacturers/industry and miscellaneous sources (p = 0.018 and p = 0.039, respectively), more mentions of risks (p = 0.0014), and more references to peer-reviewed literature (p = 0.0026).
Overall, online information related to UKA is of questionable quality and may be geared more towards attracting patients than providing high-quality information.