Advice available on the Internet for people with coeliac disease: an evaluation of the quality of websites
The Internet may be a useful resource for people with coeliac disease as a great deal of health-related information is published online. However, not all of it is accurate. It has been suggested that accurate information is most likely found on transparent sites and kitemarks are awarded on this basis. This paper examines whether the Internet is a useful resource for people with coeliac disease and whether transparency criteria can be used in identifying accurate sites. Method
An evaluation tool was developed using selected transparency criteria and clinical guidelines for accuracy. A total of 63 websites were evaluated. Results
In the study, 66% of the websites scored less than 50% for accuracy. This was primarily because of incomplete information but 15.9% of sites contained inaccuracies. Over 50% of sites scored less than 50% for transparency. No correlation was found between sites that scored highly for accuracy and those that scored highly for transparency. Conclusion
There are useful information available for people with coeliac disease but transparency criteria alone cannot be used to identify accurate sites.