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World J Surg. 2018 Dec;42(12):4097-4106. doi: 10.1007/s00268-018-4719-2.

What Patients Look for When Browsing Online for Pancreatic Cancer: The Bait Behind the Byte.

Author information

1
Pancreas and Liver Institute, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA.
2
Department of Surgery, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA.
3
Department of Radiation Oncology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute/Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA.
4
Department of Medicine, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA.
5
Pancreas and Liver Institute, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA. tkent@bidmc.harvard.edu.
6
Department of Surgery, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA. tkent@bidmc.harvard.edu.
7
Surgical Education, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, LMOB 9B, 110 Francis Street, Boston, MA, 02215, USA. tkent@bidmc.harvard.edu.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Suitability is a patient-centered metric defined as how appropriately health information is targeted to specific populations to increase knowledge. However, suitability is most commonly evaluated exclusively by healthcare professionals without collaboration from intended audiences. Suitability (as rated by intended audiences), accuracy and readability have not been evaluated on websites discussing pancreatic cancer.

METHODS:

Ten healthy volunteers evaluated fifty pancreatic cancer websites using the suitability assessment of materials (SAM instrument) for the materials' overall suitability. Readability and accuracy were correlated.

RESULTS:

Ten recruited volunteers (ages 23-63, 50% female) found websites to be on average "adequate" or "superior" in suitability. Surgery, radiotherapy and nonprofit websites had higher suitability scores as compared to counterparts (p ≤ 0.03). There was no correlation between readability and accuracy levels and suitability scores (p ≥ 0.3). Presence of visual aids was associated with better suitability scores after controlling for website quality (p ≤ 0.01).

CONCLUSION:

Suitability of websites discussing pancreatic cancer treatments as rated by lay audiences differed based on therapy type and website affiliation, and was independent of readability level and accuracy of information. Nonprofit affiliation websites focusing on surgery or radiotherapy were most suitable. Online information should be assessed for suitability by target populations, in addition to readability level and accuracy, to ensure information reaches the intended audience.

PMID:
29971463
DOI:
10.1007/s00268-018-4719-2
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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