Evaluation of the Quality of Otolaryngology Information on Persian Websites

Document Type: Original


Otolaryngology Research Ccenter, Department of Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery, Amir-Al’am Hospital, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.



More and more patients are using the Internet to achieve information these days. Most patients (85%) use search engines to look for information about health. The quality of this information that patients encounter is highly different. This study aimed to assess the quality of information that an ear, nose, and throat patient would encounter when searching for information about their problem.
Materials and Methods:
The Persian keywords of most common otolaryngology problems were searched in Google. Moreover, the first 10 websites were selected by each search for the analysis using the DISCERN instrument. This instrument is made to evaluate the comprehensiveness and quality of health-related websites.
A total of 100 websites were evaluated in this study. However, 12 (12%) websites were excluded from further analysis due to copyright problems, advertisements, traditional treatments, and other reasons. The total DISCERN score for all 88 evaluated websites was obtained at 1.89 (SD=0.49). Moreover, the highest and lowest scores were 3.66 and 1.21, respectively. The search for “otitis treatment” had the highest results (mean DISCERN score=2.20, SD=0.38). The statistical analysis showed that the mean score for the Wikipedia.com Persian website was significantly higher, compared to the other Persian websites (P< 0.001).
Persian websites have information with variable quality for the treatment of otolaryngology problems. Repeated websites, such as Wikipedia.com provided better information; however, the total quality of information was not satisfying.