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עמוד בית
Thu, 29.02.24

ORIGINAL ARTICLES

IMAJ | volume 25

Journal 10, October 2023
pages: 688-691

Should I Ask Doctor Google? Reliability of Israeli Web-based Information Regarding General Orthopedic Injuries and Symptoms

1 Department of Orthopedics B, Hillel Yaffe Medical Center, Hadera, Israel 2 Rappaport Faculty of Medicine, Technion–Institute of Technology, Haifa, Israel 3 Medical Corps, Surgeon General's Headquarters, Israel Defense Forces, Ramat Gan, Israel 4 Department of Orthopedics, Rambam Health Care Campus, Haifa, Israel

Summary

Background:

Websites serve as a source of medical information for a large part of the public, some claim to be a substitute for a physician’s consultation. Many patients meet a physician after conducting internet research. Medical staff are concerned that internet sources of information are unreliable and may lead to erroneous decisions by patients.

Objectives:

To examine the reliability of web-based sources of information (through the Google™ search engine) regarding five common orthopedic complaints and injuries.

Method:

We performed a search of five common orthopedic complaints and injuries using the Google search engine. The reliability of web-based information was measured by the DISCERN tool, which is a valid and verified tool for examining the reliability of medical information sources to the public. The reliability of 47 websites was examined by two orthopedic surgeons and two senior residents.

Results:

The overall average score given to the sites was 2.8, on a scale of 1 to 5. We found that the higher the site appeared in the search results, the higher the quality of its information. Commercial sites scored higher than general internet information sources.

Conclusions:

The internet network is a very broad source of information. For those who lack scientific education and training it is not easy to distinguish between reliable and unreliable or biased sources. The trend of searching for medical information and self-healing is increasing. We must strengthen the network with reliable sources by creating official scientific position papers by medical teams and promoting them online.

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