bims-librar Biomed News
on Biomedical librarianship
Issue of 2019‒06‒23
five papers selected by
Thomas Krichel
Open Library Society


  1. J Gen Intern Med. 2019 Jun 21.
    Daraz L, Morrow AS, Ponce OJ, Beuschel B, Farah MH, Katabi A, Alsawas M, Majzoub AM, Benkhadra R, Seisa MO, Ding JF, Prokop L, Murad MH.
      BACKGROUND: The Internet has become a leading source of health information accessed by patients and the general public. It is crucial that this information is reliable and accurate.OBJECTIVES: The purpose of this systematic review was to evaluate the overall quality of online health information targeting patients and the general public.
    METHODS: The systematic review is based on a pre-established protocol and is reported according to the PRISMA statement. Eleven databases and Internet searches were performed for relevant studies. Descriptive statistics were used to synthesize data. The NIH Quality Assessment Tool for Observational Cohort and Cross-Sectional Studies was used to assess the methodological quality of the included studies.
    RESULTS: Out of 3393 references, we included 153 cross-sectional studies evaluating 11,785 websites using 14 quality assessment tools. The quality level varied across scales. Using DISCERN, none of the websites received a category of excellent in quality, 37-79% were rated as good, and the rest were rated as poor quality. Only 18% of websites were HON Code certified. Quality varied by affiliation (governmental was higher than academic, which was higher than other media sources) and by health specialty (likely higher in internal medicine and anesthesiology).
    CONCLUSION: This comprehensive systematic review demonstrated suboptimal quality of online health information. Therefore, the Internet at the present time does not provide reliable health information for laypersons. The quality of online health information requires significant improvement which should be a mandate for policymakers and private and public organizations.
    Keywords:  Internet; health literacy; online health information; patient education; quality; systematic review
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1007/s11606-019-05109-0
  2. J Matern Fetal Neonatal Med. 2019 Jun 19. 1-361
    Ghiasi A.
      Introduction: Awareness of health information needs, sources of health information, and barriers to accessing health information among pregnant women is critical for the development of health interventions and provides high-quality prenatal care for them. Hence, the aim of this review study was to summarize evidence from studies evaluating health information needs, sources of information and barriers to accessing health information of women during pregnancy. Methods: A systematic literature search was conducted using Web of Science, Scopus, PubMed, ScienceDirect and Google Scholar for relevant studies published between 1 January, 2000 and 24 May, 2018. The methodological quality of cross-sectional studies was assessed using the STROBE checklist. The Critical Appraisal Skills Programme (CASP, 2018) was used to appraise the qualitative studies. Data were analyzed descriptively. Results: Thirty one studies from 14 countries met criteria for inclusion in this review. The majority of articles focused on information needs and sources of information used by women during pregnancy. The most common information needs among women during pregnancy were information about unborn child, nutrition, and labor / delivery. The most frequent information source used by women during pregnancy was health professionals followed by informal source (family and friends), and Internet. The most prominent barriers to information access included the following: feeling ashamed or embarrassed to talk about pregnancy related issues, long waiting times at clinic to see a health provider, and lack of adequate information resources. Conclusions: Due to the limited number of studies examining barriers to health information seeking among pregnant women, further research is warranted. Further qualitative research is also recommended to explore pregnant women's perceptions of, and satisfaction with the use of health information sources.
    Keywords:  Health information; information needs; information seeking; information source; pregnancy
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1080/14767058.2019.1634685
  3. PLoS One. 2019 ;14(6): e0218342
    Abdel-Wahab N, Rai D, Siddhanamatha H, Dodeja A, Suarez-Almazor ME, Lopez-Olivo MA.
      BACKGROUND: Online health information, if evidence-based and unbiased, can improve patients' and caregivers' health knowledge and assist them in disease management and health care decision-making.OBJECTIVE: To identify standards for the development of health information resources on the internet for patients.
    METHODS: We searched in MEDLINE, CINAHL, Scopus, Web of Science, and Google Scholar for publications describing evaluation instruments for websites providing health information. Eligible instruments were identified by three independent reviewers and disagreements resolved by consensus. Items reported were extracted and categorized into seven domains (accuracy, completeness and comprehensiveness, technical elements, design and aesthetics, usability, accessibility, and readability) that were previously thought to be a minimum requirement for websites.
    RESULTS: One hundred eleven articles met inclusion criteria, reporting 92 evaluation instruments (1609 items). We found 74 unique items that we grouped into the seven domains. For the accuracy domain, one item evaluated information provided in concordance with current guidelines. For completeness and comprehensiveness, 18 items described the disease with respect to various topics such as etiology or therapy, among others. For technical elements, 27 items evaluated disclosure of authorship, sponsorship, affiliation, editorial process, feedback process, privacy, and data protection. For design and aesthetics, 10 items evaluated consistent layout and relevant graphics and images. For usability, 10 items evaluated ease of navigation and functionality of internal search engines. For accessibility, five items evaluated the availability of websites to people with audiovisual disabilities. For readability, three items evaluated conversational writing style and use of a readability tool to determine the reading level of the text.
    CONCLUSION: We identified standards for the development of online patient health information. This proposed instrument can serve as a guideline to develop and improve how health information is presented on the internet.
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0218342
  4. R Soc Open Sci. 2019 May;6(5): 190161
    Hopf H, Krief A, Mehta G, Matlin SA.
      Computers, the Internet and social media enable every individual to be a publisher, communicating true or false information instantly and globally. In the 'post-truth' era, deception is commonplace at all levels of contemporary life. Fakery affects science and social information and the two have become highly interactive globally, undermining trust in science and the capacity of individuals and society to make evidence-informed choices, including on life-or-death issues. Ironically, drivers of fake science are embedded in the current science publishing system intended to disseminate evidenced knowledge, in which the intersection of science advancement and reputational and financial rewards for scientists and publishers incentivize gaming and, in the extreme, creation and promotion of falsified results. In the battle for truth, individual scientists, professional associations, academic institutions and funding bodies must act to put their own house in order by promoting ethics and integrity and de-incentivizing the production and publishing of false data and results. They must speak out against false information and fake science in circulation and forcefully contradict public figures who promote it. They must contribute to research that helps understand and counter false information, to education that builds knowledge and skills in assessing information and to strengthening science literacy in society.
    Keywords:  fake science; knowledge crisis; trust in science
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1098/rsos.190161
  5. J Consum Health Internet. 2018 ;22(1): 8-24
    Matambanadzo A, Maynard M, Matambanadzo T.
      This article describes a replicable model of health literacy that promotes positive youth development. Now in its fifth year of implementation and run by Advance African Development, Inc., it is an integrated year-long, in-class, student-centered, technology-driven, and service-learning youth empowerment program. Forty-minute sessions are offered once a week to create health literate K-12 public school students able to use the Internet to obtain and understand health information, and to practice informed decision-making about their health. Data collected were qualitative and included student service learning projects to solve community health issues. Community engagement exposed students to problem-solving, collaborative and transformational leadership, and advocacy skills. Prior to the program, less than half of the students had heard of MedlinePlus, and those who had heard of it rarely could describe its purpose. Approximately 500 students and 10 teachers participated, and over 40 sessions were provided from August 2015 to June 2016.
    Keywords:  Adolescents; community outreach projects; elementary school students; health disparities; health education; public school students; service learning; social determinants of health
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1080/15398285.2017.1414540