Home > Journals > Journal of Neurosurgical Sciences > Past Issues > Articles online first > Journal of Neurosurgical Sciences 2020 Dec 15

CURRENT ISSUE
 

JOURNAL TOOLS

eTOC
To subscribe PROMO
Submit an article
Recommend to your librarian
 

ARTICLE TOOLS

Publication history
Reprints
Permissions
Cite this article as
Share

 

 

Journal of Neurosurgical Sciences 2020 Dec 15

DOI: 10.23736/S0390-5616.20.05243-1

Copyright © 2020 EDIZIONI MINERVA MEDICA

language: English

What is the quality of the information available on the internet for patients suffering with sciatica?

Marco MANCUSO-MARCELLO 1, Andreas K. DEMETRIADES 1, 2

1 Department of Neurosurgery, Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, Little France Edinburgh, UK; 2 Edinburgh Spinal Surgery Outcome Studies Group


PDF


BACKGROUND: Sciatica is a common neurological condition with a wide variety of clinical specialists and allied health professionals involved, and a broad range of treatment options. We sought to assess the quality of information available on the internet.
METHODS: An internet search for ‘sciatica’ was performed using ‘Google’. The first fifty links were assessed using the DISCERN instrument, a validated questionnaire for health consumers and providers.
RESULTS: After exclusions, 44 websites were assessed. Only 37% of sites had clear aims and objectives; 79% provided relevant information; 81% did not provide clear sources of their information; 67% had no indication of when the information was compiled or updated; 63% clarified that more than one treatment option was available; only 28% described in moderate to extensive detail how the various treatment modalities might work; only 14% informed patients of potential risks and complications for each treatment. The biased and/or unbalanced websites amounted to 40%, offering greater detail about one treatment modality over others. Overall, 93% of assessed websites did not inform patients of the consequences/natural history if no treatment were undertaken; and 91% did not describe the potential impact of treatment and how it could affect quality of life.
CONCLUSIONS: Despite the role that the internet plays in everyday life, information on the common and debilitating condition of sciatica is mostly of low-to-moderate quality, and with serious shortcomings. Healthcare stakeholders ought to be aware of the risks of misinformation and ensure that health-related internet website design and upkeep is guided by instruments such as DISCERN.


KEY WORDS: Sciatica; Internet; Quality of information; DISCERN instrument

top of page