Assessment of quality and readability of internet-based health information related to commonly prescribed angiotensin receptor blockers
Introduction: hypertension is a global public health burden. Angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) have proven efficacy in the management of hypertension and related complications. The Internet has become a major source of health information for patients and healthcare professionals. The study aimed to assess the quality and readability of internet-based information related to selected Angiotensin Receptor Blockers (ARBs).
Methods: the three most widely used ARBs were identified from published literature, after which internet-based patient information was identified from the first five pages of three search engines (Google, Yahoo and Bing). Quality of identified websites were assessed using the DISCERN instrument, while readability was evaluated using the SMOG instrument and the Flesch-Kincaid readability algorithm. Final ratings were then calculated as described by the instruments developers. Further, inter-class correlation coefficients (ICC) were calculated using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences.
Results: the average overall DISCERN score in this study was 2.99 (SD±1.05). No website received an excellent rating, 15% were rated good, 66% as moderate and 19% as poor. The inter-class reliability was 0.804 for losartan and 0.695 for valsartan. The mean Flesch Reading Ease score for the websites was 48.87 (SD±16.12), mean Flesch-Kincaid Reading Grade Level was 9.29 (SD±1.98) while mean SMOG value was 11.29 (SD±1.70).
Conclusion: overall, patient information on the reviewed ARBs websites was found to be of moderate quality and suboptimal readability. Content providers on websites should ensure that health information is of favorable quality and easy to read by patients with varying degree of health literacy.
Publication titlePan African Medical Journal
Department/SchoolSchool of Health Sciences
PublisherAfrican Field Epidemiology Network (A F E N E T)
Place of publicationUganda
Rights statementCopyright 2020 Anuoluwapo Oloidi. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/