Turkish Neurosurgery 2024 , Vol 34 , Num 4
Evaluating the Readability, Quality, and Reliability of Online Patient Education Materials on Spinal Cord Stimulation
Muhammet Enes GUNDUZ1,Georgios K. MATIS1,Erkan OZDURAN2,Volkan HANCI3
1Faculty of Medicine and University Hospital, Department of Stereotactic and Functional Neurosurgery, Cologne, Germany
2Dokuz Eylul University Hospital, Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Izmir, Türkiye
3Dokuz Eylul University Hospital, Department of Anesthesiology and Reanimation, Izmir, Türkiye
DOI : 10.5137/1019-5149.JTN.42973-22.3 AIM: To obtain health-related information internet usage is rapidly increasing. However, there are concerns about the comprehensibility and reliability of internet-accessed health-related information. The aim of this research was to investigate the reliability, quality, and readability of patient education materials (PEMs) about spinal cord stimulation (SCS) on the internet.

MATERIAL and METHODS: A total of 114 websites suitable for the study were identified after a search on Google for the term ?spinal cord stimulation.? Gunning Fog (GFOG), Flesch?Kincaid Grade Level (FKGL), Flesch Reading Ease Score (FRES), and Simple Measure of Gobbledygook (SMOG) were used to determine the readability of sites. The credibility of the websites was assessed using the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) score. Quality was assessed using the global quality score (GQS), the DISCERN score, and the Health on the Net Foundation code of conduct (HONcode).

RESULTS: Evaluating the text sections, the mean SMOG and FKGL were 10.92 ± 1.61 and 11.62 ± 2.11 years, respectively, and the mean FRES and GFOG were 45.32 ± 10.71 and 14.62 ± 2.24 (both very difficult), respectively. Of all the websites, 10.5% were found to be of high quality, 13.2% were found to be of high reliability, and only 6.1% had a HONcode. A significant difference was found between the typologies of the websites and the reliability and quality scores (p<0.05).

CONCLUSION: The internet-based PEMs about SCS were found to have a readability level that exceeded the Grade 6 level recommended by the National Health Institute. However, the materials demonstrated low reliability and poor quality. It is advisable that websites addressing Spinal Cord Stimulation (SCS), a specific neuromodulation technique among various interventional strategies for chronic pain management, maintain readability standards in line with established indexes and provide content that is reliable and tailored to the general public?s educational level. Keywords : Spinal cord stimulation, Patient education, Online information, Chronic pain, Education level, Index, Quality

Corresponding author : Muhammet Enes GUNDUZ, dr.gunduz@outlook.com