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Between Web search engines and artificial intelligence: what side is shown in laboratory tests?

Authors
  • Negrini, Davide1
  • Padoan, Andrea2, 3
  • Plebani, Mario1, 4
  • 1 University-Hospital of Padova, Italy , (Italy)
  • 2 University-Hospital of Padova, via Giustiniani 2 , (Italy)
  • 3 University of Padova, via Giustiniani 2 , (Italy)
  • 4 University of Padova, Italy , (Italy)
Type
Published Article
Journal
Diagnosis
Publisher
De Gruyter
Publication Date
Apr 25, 2020
Volume
8
Issue
2
Pages
227–232
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1515/dx-2020-0022
Source
De Gruyter
Keywords
License
Yellow

Abstract

BackgroundThe number of websites providing laboratory test information is increasing fast, although the accuracy of reported resources is sometimes questionable. The aim of this study was to assess the quality of online retrievable information by Google Search engine.MethodsConsidering urinalysis, cholesterol and prostate-specific antigen (PSA) as keywords, the Google Search engine was queried. Using Google Trends, users’ search trends (interest over time) were evaluated in a 5-year period. The first three or 10 retrieved hits were analysed in blind by two reviewers and classified according to the type of owner or publisher and for the quality of the reported Web content.ResultsThe interest over time constantly increased for all the three considered tests. Most of the Web content owners were editorial and/or publishing groups (mean percentage 35.5% and 30.0% for the first three and 10 hits, respectively). Public and health agencies and scientific societies are less represented. Among the first three and 10 hits, cited sources were found to vary from 26.0% to 46.7% of Web page results, whilst for cholesterol, 60% of the retrieved Web contents reported only authors’ signatures.ConclusionsOur findings confirm those obtained in other studies in the literature, demonstrating that online Web searches can lead patients to inadequately written or reviewed health information.

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