Quality of arthritis information on the Internet

Nicole T. Ansani, Molly Vogt, Bethany A.Fedutes Henderson, Theresa P. McKaveney, Robert J. Weber, Randall B. Smith, Michelle Burda, C. Kent Kwoh, Thaddeus A. Osial, Terence Starz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

63 Scopus citations


Purpose. The quality and reliability of Internet-based arthritis information were studied. Methods. The search terms "arthritis," "osteoarthritis," and "rheumatoid arthritis" were entered into the AOL, MSN, Yahoo, Google, and Lycos search engines. The Web sites for the first 40 matches generated by each search engine were grouped by URL suffix and evaluated on the basis of four categories of criteria: disease and medication information content, Web-site navigability, required literacy level, and currentness of information. Ratings were assigned by using an assessment tool derived from published literature (maximum score of 15 points). Results. Of the 600 arthritis Web sites identified, only 69 were unique and included in the analysis. Fifty-seven percent were.com sites, 20%. org sites, 7%.gov sites, 6%.edu sites, and 10% other sites. Total scores for individual sites reviewed ranged from 3 to 14. Eighty percent of.gov sites, 75% of.edu sites, 29% of other sites, 36% of.com sites, and 21% of.org sites were within the top tertile of scores. No Web site met the criterion for being understandable to people with no more than a sixth-grade reading ability. Gov sites scored significantly higher overall than.com sites,.org sites, and other sites. Edu sites also scored relatively well. Conclusion. The quality of arthritis information on the Internet varied widely. Sites with URLs having suffixes of.gov and.edu were ranked higher than other types of sites.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1184-1189
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Health-System Pharmacy
Issue number11
StatePublished - Jun 1 2005


  • Arthritis
  • Comprehension
  • Computers
  • Internet
  • Quality assurance
  • World Wide Web

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy
  • Pharmacy
  • Pharmacology


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