STUDY DESIGN.: Cross-sectional survey. OBJECTIVE.: The objective of this study was to investigate the authorship, content, and quality of information available to the public on the Internet pertaining to the cervical artificial disc replacement device. SUMMARY OF BACKGROUND DATA.: The Internet is widely used by patients as an educational tool for health care information. In addition, the Internet is used as a medium for direct-to-consumer marketing. Increasing interest in cervical artificial disc replacement has led to the emergence of numerous Web sites offering information about this procedure. It is thought that patients can be influenced by information found on the Internet. METHODS.: A cross section of Web sites accessible to the general public was surveyed. Three commonly used search engines were used to locate 150 (50/search engine) Web sites providing information about the cervical artificial disc replacement. Each Web site was evaluated with regard to authorship and content. RESULTS.: Fifty-three percent of the Web sites reviewed were authorized by a private physician group, 4% by an academic physician group, 13% by industry, 16% were news reports, and 14% were not otherwise categorized. Sixty-five percent of Web sites offered a mechanism for direct contact and 19% provided clear patient eligibility criteria. Benefits were expressed in 80% of Web sites, whereas associated risks were described in 35% or less. European experiences were noted in 17% of Web sites, whereas only 9% of Web sites detailed the current US experience. CONCLUSION.: The results of this study demonstrate that much of the content of the Internet-derived information pertaining to the cervical artificial disc replacement is for marketing purposes and may not represent unbiased information. Until we can confirm the content on a Web site to be accurate, patients should be cautioned when using the Internet as a source for health care information related to cervical disc replacement.
- artifi cial disc replacement
- patient education
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
- Clinical Neurology