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Assessment of Allergic Rhinitis Websites in Korea

Publication Date
  • Internet
  • Allergic Rhinitis
  • Medicine


Objectives. The internet has become an important source of medical information and a great amount of information related to allergic rhinitis (AR) is available on the internet. However, the quality of this information is still a matter of debate. Therefore, this study was conducted to assess the AR-related information on Korean websites. Methods. The key word "allergic rhinitis" was entered into 4 popular search engines, and this led to identifying 40 websites. After being categorized according to authorship, the informational value of these websites was evaluated using 4 different assessment tools such as the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) benchmarks, the DISCERN questionnaire, the Allergic Rhinitis and its Impact on Asthma (ARIA) 2008 Update and the Health On the Net (HON) code. Results. The 40 websites containing AR-related information were categorized according to their authorship as Western physician: 20, Oriental physician: 14, commercial: 1, and others: 5. The mean citation frequencies of the JAMA benchmarks and the ARIA 2008 Update concepts was 1.23 out of 4 and 4.33 out of 8, respectively, while the mean DISCERN score was 1.92 out of 5. When the websites were evaluated based on the type of authorship, the mean citation frequencies of the AMA 2008 Update concepts were Western physician: 5.35, Oriental physician: 2.64. Additionally, three websites authored by Western physicians and 13 authored by Oriental physicians contained unreliable information. Among these 16 websites, only 3 websites met the requirements for the HON code "Justification". Conclusion. AR-related information available on Korean websites is of variable quality and not all of the information provided is justifiable. Thus, performing surveillance of the medical information on these websites is necessary. Furthermore, common criteria that can be used to evaluate the websites created by both Western and Oriental physicians are also needed.

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