Concussion information online: evaluation of information quality, content and readability of concussion-related websites
This source preferred by Osman Ahmed
Authors: Ahmed, O.H., Sullivan, S.J., Schneiders, A.G. and McCrory, P.
Journal: British Journal of Sports Medicine
Publisher: BMJ Publishing Group
Background: The internet plays an important role in the dissemination of health information to the general public. Information on orthopaedic sports medicine websites has been shown to be of a varying standard, and to date there has been no evaluation of the overall quality of concussion-related websites.
Methods: A four-stage methodological sampling technique was used to identify concussion-related websites. Websites were assessed for the presence of a quality standard (the HONcode), their adherence to current expert concussion knowledge using a custom-developed concussion checklist ('CONcheck'), and their readability using the established Flesch Reading Ease (FRE) and Flesch–Kincaid Grade Level (FKGL).
Results: 43 Websites were identified from the search strategy with the majority (70%) not HONcode certified. A wide distribution of scores was seen for the CONcheck (0–22), FRE (16.3–77.4) and FKGL (6–17.8). Statistical analysis using independent t tests between websites with the HONcode and websites without the HONcode showed no significant differences between the two groups for CONcheck (t41=0.571, p=0.571), FRE (t41=0.808, p=0.424) and FKGL(t41=−0.964, p=0.341) scores.
Conclusions: The variability in the standard of concussion-related websites highlights the need for sports medicine website providers to consider the delivery, content and readability of information to the public.