Website Quality Indicators for Consumers

Date

2005

Authors

Griffiths, Kathleen
Christensen, Helen

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title

Publisher

Journal of medical Internet Research

Abstract

Background: The rating tool DISCERN was designed for use by consumers without content expertise to evaluate the quality of health information. There is some evidence that DISCERN may be a valid indicator of evidence-based website quality when applied by health professionals. However, it is not known if the tool is a valid measure of evidence-based quality when used by consumers. Since it is a lengthy instrument requiring training in its use, DISCERN may prove impractical for use by the typical consumer. It is therefore important to explore the validity of other simpler potential indicators of site quality such as Google PageRank.Objective: This study aimed to determine (1) whether the instrument DISCERN is a valid indicator of evidence-based Web content quality for consumers without specific mental health training, and (2) whether Google PageRank is an indicator of website content quality as measured by an evidence-based gold standard.Methods: This was a cross-sectional survey of depression websites using consumer and health professional raters. The main outcome measures were (1) site characteristics, (2) evidence-based quality of content as measured by evidence-based depression guidelines, (3) DISCERN scores, (4) Google PageRank, and (5) user satisfaction.Results: There was a significant association between evidence-based quality ratings and average DISCERN ratings both for consumers (r = 0.62, P = .001) and health professionals (r = 0.80, P < .001). Consumer and health professional DISCERN ratings were significantly correlated (r = 0.77, P < .001). The evidence-based quality score correlated with Google PageRank (r = 0.59, P = .002). However, the correlation between DISCERN scores and user satisfaction was higher than the correlation between Google PageRank and user satisfaction.Conclusions: DISCERN has potential as an indicator of content quality when used either by experts or by consumers. Google PageRank shows some promise as an automatic indicator of quality.

Description

Keywords

Keywords: article; correlation analysis; evidence based practice; health care personnel; human; Internet; medical information system; quality control; satisfaction; validation process Consumer participation; Depressive disorder; Evaluation studies; Medical informatics

Citation

Source

Journal of Medical Internet Research

Type

Journal article

Book Title

Entity type

Access Statement

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DOI

10.2196/jmir.7.5.e55

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