Content and Quality of Websites for Patients With Chronic Kidney Disease

An Environmental Scan

Michelle Smekal, Sarah Gil, Maoliosa Donald, Heather Beanlands, Sharon Straus, Gwen Herrington, Dwight Sparkes, Lori Harwood, Allison Tong, Allan Grill, Karen Tu, Blair Waldvogel, Chantel Large, Claire Large, M. Novák, Matthew James, Meghan Elliott, Maria Delgado, Scott Brimble, Susan Samuel & 1 others Brenda R. Hemmelgarn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Background: Although numerous websites for patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) are available, little is known about their content and quality. Objective: To evaluate the quality of CKD websites, and the degree to which they align with information needs identified by patients with CKD. Methods: We identified websites by entering “chronic kidney disease” in 3 search engines: Google.com (with regional variants for Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States), Bing.com, and Yahoo.com. We included the first 50 unique English-language sites from each search. We evaluated website content using a 30-point scale comprising 8 priority content domains identified by patients with CKD (understanding CKD, diet, symptoms, medications, mental/physical health, finances, travel, and work/school). We used standardized tools to evaluate usability, reliability, and readability (DISCERN, HONcode, LIDA, Reading Ease, and Reading Grade Level). Two reviewers independently conducted the search, screen, and evaluation. Results: Of the 2093 websites identified, 115 were included. Overall, sites covered a mean (SD) of 29% (17.8) of the CKD content areas. The proportion of sites covering content related to understanding CKD, symptoms, and diet was highest (97%, 80%, and 72%, respectively). The proportion of sites covering travel, finances, and work/school content was lowest (22%, 12%, and 12%, respectively). The mean (SD) scores for DISCERN, LIDA and HONcode were 68% (14.6), 71% (14.4), and 75% (17.2), respectively, considered above average for usability and reliability. The mean (SD) Reading Grade Level was 10.6 (2.8) and Reading Ease was 49.8 (14.4), suggesting poor readability. Conclusions: Although many CKD web sites were of reasonable quality, their readability was poor. Furthermore, most sites covered less than 30% of the content patients identified as important for CKD self-management. These results will inform content gaps in internet-accessible information on CKD self-management that should be addressed by future eHealth web-based tools.

Original languageEnglish
JournalCanadian Journal of Kidney Health and Disease
Volume6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1 2019

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Chronic Renal Insufficiency
Reading
Self Care
Disease Management
Diet
Search Engine
Telemedicine
Internet
Canada
Mental Health
Language

Keywords

  • chronic kidney disease
  • internet
  • online
  • self-management
  • websites

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nephrology

Cite this

Content and Quality of Websites for Patients With Chronic Kidney Disease : An Environmental Scan. / Smekal, Michelle; Gil, Sarah; Donald, Maoliosa; Beanlands, Heather; Straus, Sharon; Herrington, Gwen; Sparkes, Dwight; Harwood, Lori; Tong, Allison; Grill, Allan; Tu, Karen; Waldvogel, Blair; Large, Chantel; Large, Claire; Novák, M.; James, Matthew; Elliott, Meghan; Delgado, Maria; Brimble, Scott; Samuel, Susan; Hemmelgarn, Brenda R.

In: Canadian Journal of Kidney Health and Disease, Vol. 6, 01.07.2019.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Smekal, M, Gil, S, Donald, M, Beanlands, H, Straus, S, Herrington, G, Sparkes, D, Harwood, L, Tong, A, Grill, A, Tu, K, Waldvogel, B, Large, C, Large, C, Novák, M, James, M, Elliott, M, Delgado, M, Brimble, S, Samuel, S & Hemmelgarn, BR 2019, 'Content and Quality of Websites for Patients With Chronic Kidney Disease: An Environmental Scan', Canadian Journal of Kidney Health and Disease, vol. 6. https://doi.org/10.1177/2054358119863091
Smekal, Michelle ; Gil, Sarah ; Donald, Maoliosa ; Beanlands, Heather ; Straus, Sharon ; Herrington, Gwen ; Sparkes, Dwight ; Harwood, Lori ; Tong, Allison ; Grill, Allan ; Tu, Karen ; Waldvogel, Blair ; Large, Chantel ; Large, Claire ; Novák, M. ; James, Matthew ; Elliott, Meghan ; Delgado, Maria ; Brimble, Scott ; Samuel, Susan ; Hemmelgarn, Brenda R. / Content and Quality of Websites for Patients With Chronic Kidney Disease : An Environmental Scan. In: Canadian Journal of Kidney Health and Disease. 2019 ; Vol. 6.
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abstract = "Background: Although numerous websites for patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) are available, little is known about their content and quality. Objective: To evaluate the quality of CKD websites, and the degree to which they align with information needs identified by patients with CKD. Methods: We identified websites by entering “chronic kidney disease” in 3 search engines: Google.com (with regional variants for Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States), Bing.com, and Yahoo.com. We included the first 50 unique English-language sites from each search. We evaluated website content using a 30-point scale comprising 8 priority content domains identified by patients with CKD (understanding CKD, diet, symptoms, medications, mental/physical health, finances, travel, and work/school). We used standardized tools to evaluate usability, reliability, and readability (DISCERN, HONcode, LIDA, Reading Ease, and Reading Grade Level). Two reviewers independently conducted the search, screen, and evaluation. Results: Of the 2093 websites identified, 115 were included. Overall, sites covered a mean (SD) of 29{\%} (17.8) of the CKD content areas. The proportion of sites covering content related to understanding CKD, symptoms, and diet was highest (97{\%}, 80{\%}, and 72{\%}, respectively). The proportion of sites covering travel, finances, and work/school content was lowest (22{\%}, 12{\%}, and 12{\%}, respectively). The mean (SD) scores for DISCERN, LIDA and HONcode were 68{\%} (14.6), 71{\%} (14.4), and 75{\%} (17.2), respectively, considered above average for usability and reliability. The mean (SD) Reading Grade Level was 10.6 (2.8) and Reading Ease was 49.8 (14.4), suggesting poor readability. Conclusions: Although many CKD web sites were of reasonable quality, their readability was poor. Furthermore, most sites covered less than 30{\%} of the content patients identified as important for CKD self-management. These results will inform content gaps in internet-accessible information on CKD self-management that should be addressed by future eHealth web-based tools.",
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AU - Beanlands, Heather

AU - Straus, Sharon

AU - Herrington, Gwen

AU - Sparkes, Dwight

AU - Harwood, Lori

AU - Tong, Allison

AU - Grill, Allan

AU - Tu, Karen

AU - Waldvogel, Blair

AU - Large, Chantel

AU - Large, Claire

AU - Novák, M.

AU - James, Matthew

AU - Elliott, Meghan

AU - Delgado, Maria

AU - Brimble, Scott

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N2 - Background: Although numerous websites for patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) are available, little is known about their content and quality. Objective: To evaluate the quality of CKD websites, and the degree to which they align with information needs identified by patients with CKD. Methods: We identified websites by entering “chronic kidney disease” in 3 search engines: Google.com (with regional variants for Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States), Bing.com, and Yahoo.com. We included the first 50 unique English-language sites from each search. We evaluated website content using a 30-point scale comprising 8 priority content domains identified by patients with CKD (understanding CKD, diet, symptoms, medications, mental/physical health, finances, travel, and work/school). We used standardized tools to evaluate usability, reliability, and readability (DISCERN, HONcode, LIDA, Reading Ease, and Reading Grade Level). Two reviewers independently conducted the search, screen, and evaluation. Results: Of the 2093 websites identified, 115 were included. Overall, sites covered a mean (SD) of 29% (17.8) of the CKD content areas. The proportion of sites covering content related to understanding CKD, symptoms, and diet was highest (97%, 80%, and 72%, respectively). The proportion of sites covering travel, finances, and work/school content was lowest (22%, 12%, and 12%, respectively). The mean (SD) scores for DISCERN, LIDA and HONcode were 68% (14.6), 71% (14.4), and 75% (17.2), respectively, considered above average for usability and reliability. The mean (SD) Reading Grade Level was 10.6 (2.8) and Reading Ease was 49.8 (14.4), suggesting poor readability. Conclusions: Although many CKD web sites were of reasonable quality, their readability was poor. Furthermore, most sites covered less than 30% of the content patients identified as important for CKD self-management. These results will inform content gaps in internet-accessible information on CKD self-management that should be addressed by future eHealth web-based tools.

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