Korean Journal of Pediatrics 2004;47(8):868-872.
Published online August 15, 2004.
Analysis and Evaluation of the Reliability of Medical Information on Food Allergies on the Internet
Young Bun Cho, Young Shin Yoon, Ji Yeon Chang, Sun Mi Kim, Kwi Sook Kim, Chang Hee Choi
Department of Pediatrics, Seoul Adventist Hospital, Seoul, Korea
식품 알레르기에 관한 검색을 통한 국내 인터넷상에서의 의료 정보의 적절성 평가
조영번, 윤영신, 장지연, 김선미, 김귀숙, 최창희
서울위생병원 소아과
Chang Hee Choi, Email: cchoiped@yahoo.co.kr
The information in the internet is increasing and the number of people using the Internet to obtain medical information is increasing rapidly too. But, compared to the amount of information, the quality of information is extremely variable. To assess the accuracy of medical information on the Internet, the quality of information about food allergies available on the internet examined.
Online searches using the phrase "food allergy" were conducted on five major Internet search engines. The first 50 web pages generated by each engine were examined. Making an exception of the web pages which were inaccessible, irrelevant, and duplicated, sixty out of two hundred and fifty web pages were evaluated. Information scores were developed from 1(no statement) to 4 (sufficient) and designed to assess how well the web pages mentioned the summary, symptom, diagnosis, treatment, and education of the patients, and emergent management.
When classified by ownership, there were six(10%) oriental clinics, twelve(20%) hospitals, twenty one(35%) profit-making institutions, fourteen(23%) non-profit institutions and seven others (12%). The mean information score(IS) was 10.7. Summary got the highest IS(2.25) and the education for patients and supporters got the lowest IS(1.33). Medical institutions such as hospital and clinic got 12.33 and non-medical institutions got 10.25. But there were no statistically significant differences between these two institutions(P=0.107).
Overall, the quality of information on food allergy through the Internet was poor. The main reasons are unlimited listings of related information on the Internet and an absence of a reviewing process of the information. Therefore, people should not entirely rely on the Internet for medical information and medical-related institutions such as hospitals, schools, clinics and relevant academic associations should develop an Internet system to improve the quality of information.
Key Words: Internet, Food allergy, Quality

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