School of Medicine and Health Sciences Poster Presentations

Title

A Deeper Look into Medical Foods: Where is the Best Patient-Centered Information?

Poster Number

214

Document Type

Poster

Status

Research Fellow

Abstract Category

Education/Health Services

Keywords

medical foods, inflammatory bowel disease, patient education

Publication Date

Spring 2018

Abstract

Background

An assortment of medical foods, formulated to be consumed or administered enterally under the supervision of a physician, have established roles in the management of Inflammatory Bowel Diseases (IBD) as adjunctive or stand-alone therapies. The internet is a common method patients use to look for health-related information. Our aim is to evaluate and assess the quality and readability of information about medical foods found on the internet.

Methods

Using Google search engine, we retrieved the first 100 websites using the search term “Medical Foods and IBD.” Information was categorized by academic (journal/abstract), commercial (products for sale), informational (leaflets) or personal (blogs). Information quality was evaluated using the DISCERN instrument. DISCERN scores were categorized as Excellent 63-75, Good 51-62, Fair 39-50, Poor 27-38, and Very Poor < 26. The readability was assessed using Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level calculation. We conducted a one-way ANOVA between website subcategories of DISCERN and readability level.

Results

A total of 25 websites were evaluated after the exclusion of inaccurate and duplicate websites. The average DISCERN score for all sites was in the poor category (38) and every subcategory was also poor or fair (Academic 43, Informational 40, Commercial 29, and Personal 33). The average Flesch-Kincaid grade level for all subcategories was at or above high-school level (13). There was no difference between DISCERN scores (P= 0.17) or readability levels (P=0.425) among website subcategories.

Conclusion

This study demonstrated that the overall quality of websites was poor and the reading level was above the American Medical Association’s recommended sixth grade level. Contrary to expectation, academic websites were only of fair quality. Moreover, non-academic websites traditionally targeting patients were at or above high school reading level. Therefore both health consumers and providers lack access to high quality, easy to understand information regarding Medical Foods in IBD.

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Creative Commons License
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A Deeper Look into Medical Foods: Where is the Best Patient-Centered Information?

Background

An assortment of medical foods, formulated to be consumed or administered enterally under the supervision of a physician, have established roles in the management of Inflammatory Bowel Diseases (IBD) as adjunctive or stand-alone therapies. The internet is a common method patients use to look for health-related information. Our aim is to evaluate and assess the quality and readability of information about medical foods found on the internet.

Methods

Using Google search engine, we retrieved the first 100 websites using the search term “Medical Foods and IBD.” Information was categorized by academic (journal/abstract), commercial (products for sale), informational (leaflets) or personal (blogs). Information quality was evaluated using the DISCERN instrument. DISCERN scores were categorized as Excellent 63-75, Good 51-62, Fair 39-50, Poor 27-38, and Very Poor < 26. The readability was assessed using Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level calculation. We conducted a one-way ANOVA between website subcategories of DISCERN and readability level.

Results

A total of 25 websites were evaluated after the exclusion of inaccurate and duplicate websites. The average DISCERN score for all sites was in the poor category (38) and every subcategory was also poor or fair (Academic 43, Informational 40, Commercial 29, and Personal 33). The average Flesch-Kincaid grade level for all subcategories was at or above high-school level (13). There was no difference between DISCERN scores (P= 0.17) or readability levels (P=0.425) among website subcategories.

Conclusion

This study demonstrated that the overall quality of websites was poor and the reading level was above the American Medical Association’s recommended sixth grade level. Contrary to expectation, academic websites were only of fair quality. Moreover, non-academic websites traditionally targeting patients were at or above high school reading level. Therefore both health consumers and providers lack access to high quality, easy to understand information regarding Medical Foods in IBD.