Guidance from the Royal College of Surgeons advocates patient use of on-line resources to assist in decision making.
Dr Daniel Baker and colleagues assessed the quality of on-line resources to facilitate decision making for patients considering surgery for ulcerative colitis (UC).
The researchers undertook a systematic review based on PRISMA guidelines.
The team searched Google and repositories using several lay search terms for patient information discussing surgery for UC, published in English.
Quality of content on websites was assessed using the validated DISCERN instrument and by minimum standards for decision aids.
Decision aids were also assessed by the IPDAS checklist.
The team identified 175 websites and 1 decision aid.
|The median global score based on the DISCERN rating was 1/5|
|Inflammatory Bowel Diseases|
The research team excluded 119 results at initial screen, and 32 at full text assessment, leaving 25 sources for review.
The mean Flesch-Kincaid score for websites was 45, suggesting material was difficult to read.
The team observed that no websites compared surgery to medical management or traded off patient preferences.
The median IPDAS score was 5/12.
The researchers noted that the median global score based on the DISCERN rating was 1/5, identifying most websites as poor quality.
The decision aid scored 9/12 on the IPDAS checklist, not meeting minimum standards.
Dr Baker's team concludes, "Available information for patients considering surgery for UC is generally low quality."
"The development of a new decision aid to support patients considering surgery for UC is recommended."