What Can You Find about Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) Online? Assessing Online Information on PCOS: Quality, Content, and User-Friendliness

Wei-Ling Chiu, Millicent Kuczynska-Burggraf, Melanie Gibson-Helm, Helena J. Teede, Amanda Vincent, Jacqueline A. Boyle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a common yet complex condition, where education is vital. It predominantly affects reproductive-aged women, the age group with peak use of the Internet, now a major source of health information. Women with PCOS are dissatisfied with care, and the lack of useful online information is a key concern. Methods Using a rigorous and systematic methodology, we examined the quality, information content, and user-friendliness of online information about PCOS. Internet searches were conducted in Australia and the United Kingdom in December 2015 using Google, Bing, and Yahoo with different browsers, operating systems, and domain names. A total of 75 Web sites were evaluated and categorized. Results The majority of Web sites were commercial (41%) and not-for-profit (76%) and were aimed at women only. Less than a third of the Web sites were externally accredited. Commercial Web sites and Web sites targeting only women had the lowest quality scores, while professional-society Web sites and Web sites targeting only HPs scored the highest in quality. Accredited Web sites had higher quality and user-friendliness scores than nonaccredited Web sites. Conclusion The majority of PCOS Web sites were commercially derived, targeted women, and were not accredited. There is a significant lack of quality, easy-to-read, evidence-based information online for women with PCOS.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)50-58
Number of pages9
JournalSeminars in Reproductive Medicine
Volume36
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2018

Keywords

  • health information content
  • health information quality
  • health information user-friendliness
  • Internet
  • polycystic ovary syndrome

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