Generic medicines: an evaluation of the accuracy and accessibility of information available on the internet

Hdl Handle:
http://hdl.handle.net/10147/303291
Title:
Generic medicines: an evaluation of the accuracy and accessibility of information available on the internet
Authors:
Dunne, Suzanne S; Cummins, Niamh M; Hannigan, Ailish; Shannon, Bill; Dunne, Colum; Cullen, Walter
Citation:
BMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making. 2013 Oct 07;13(1):115
Issue Date:
7-Oct-2013
URI:
http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1472-6947-13-115; http://hdl.handle.net/10147/303291
Abstract:
Abstract Background Internationally, generic medicines are increasingly seen as a key strategy to reduce healthcare expenditure, therefore awareness and knowledge transfer regarding generic medicines are valid areas of research. Although the Internet is a frequently used source of medical information, the accuracy of material found online is variable. The aim of this study was to evaluate information provided on the Internet regarding generic medicines in terms of quality of information and readability. Methods Internet searches for information regarding generic medicine were completed, with a pre-defined search term, using the Google search engine, in five English-speaking geographical regions (US, UK, Ireland, Canada and Australia). Search results likely to be looked at by a searcher were collated and assessed for the quality of generic medicine-related information in the websites, using a novel customised Website Quality Assessment (WQA) tool; and for readability, using existing methods. The reproducibility of the tools between two independent reviewers was evaluated and correlations between WQA score, readability statistics and Google search engine results page ranking were assessed. Results Wikipedia was the highest-ranking search result in 100% of searches performed. Considerable variability of search results returned between different geographical regions was observed, including that websites identified in the Australian search generated the highest number of country specific websites; searches performed using computers with Irish, British, American and Canadian IP addresses appear to be more similar to each other than the google.com search performed in Australia; and the Canadian google.ca results show a notable difference from any of the other searches. Of the 24 websites assessed, none scored a perfect WQA score. Notably, strong correlation was seen between WQA and readability scores and ranking on google.com search results. Conclusions This novel evaluation of websites providing information on generic medicines showed that, of the websites likely to be seen by a searcher, none demonstrated a combination of scoring highly on quality of information (as evinced by WQA score) and readability. Therefore, there is a gap in online knowledge provision on this topic which, if filled by a website designed using the WQA tool developed in this study, has an improved likelihood of ranking highly in google.com search results.
Item Type:
Article
Language:
en
Keywords:
PUBLIC INFORMATION; MEDICINES
Local subject classification:
INTERNET; GENERIC MEDICINES

Full metadata record

DC FieldValue Language
dc.contributor.authorDunne, Suzanne Sen_GB
dc.contributor.authorCummins, Niamh Men_GB
dc.contributor.authorHannigan, Ailishen_GB
dc.contributor.authorShannon, Billen_GB
dc.contributor.authorDunne, Columen_GB
dc.contributor.authorCullen, Walteren_GB
dc.date.accessioned2013-10-11T15:20:38Z-
dc.date.available2013-10-11T15:20:38Z-
dc.date.issued2013-10-07-
dc.identifier.citationBMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making. 2013 Oct 07;13(1):115en_GB
dc.identifier.urihttp://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1472-6947-13-115-
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10147/303291-
dc.description.abstractAbstract Background Internationally, generic medicines are increasingly seen as a key strategy to reduce healthcare expenditure, therefore awareness and knowledge transfer regarding generic medicines are valid areas of research. Although the Internet is a frequently used source of medical information, the accuracy of material found online is variable. The aim of this study was to evaluate information provided on the Internet regarding generic medicines in terms of quality of information and readability. Methods Internet searches for information regarding generic medicine were completed, with a pre-defined search term, using the Google search engine, in five English-speaking geographical regions (US, UK, Ireland, Canada and Australia). Search results likely to be looked at by a searcher were collated and assessed for the quality of generic medicine-related information in the websites, using a novel customised Website Quality Assessment (WQA) tool; and for readability, using existing methods. The reproducibility of the tools between two independent reviewers was evaluated and correlations between WQA score, readability statistics and Google search engine results page ranking were assessed. Results Wikipedia was the highest-ranking search result in 100% of searches performed. Considerable variability of search results returned between different geographical regions was observed, including that websites identified in the Australian search generated the highest number of country specific websites; searches performed using computers with Irish, British, American and Canadian IP addresses appear to be more similar to each other than the google.com search performed in Australia; and the Canadian google.ca results show a notable difference from any of the other searches. Of the 24 websites assessed, none scored a perfect WQA score. Notably, strong correlation was seen between WQA and readability scores and ranking on google.com search results. Conclusions This novel evaluation of websites providing information on generic medicines showed that, of the websites likely to be seen by a searcher, none demonstrated a combination of scoring highly on quality of information (as evinced by WQA score) and readability. Therefore, there is a gap in online knowledge provision on this topic which, if filled by a website designed using the WQA tool developed in this study, has an improved likelihood of ranking highly in google.com search results.-
dc.language.isoenen
dc.subjectPUBLIC INFORMATIONen_GB
dc.subjectMEDICINESen_GB
dc.subject.otherINTERNETen_GB
dc.subject.otherGENERIC MEDICINESen_GB
dc.titleGeneric medicines: an evaluation of the accuracy and accessibility of information available on the interneten_GB
dc.typeArticleen
dc.language.rfc3066en-
dc.rights.holderSuzanne S Dunne et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.-
dc.description.statusPeer Reviewed-
dc.date.updated2013-10-11T15:07:37Z-
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