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P003: MESH CRISIS IN INGUINAL HERNIA REPAIR? QUALITY AND RELIABILITY ASSESSMENT OF CURRENT INTERNET INFORMATION
Anna Fullard, Ms1; Dermot Hehir, Professor2; Sean Johnston, Mr1; 1Midland Regional Hospital Tullamore; 2Adjunct Clinical Professor, Graduate Entry Medical School, University of Limerick
Introduction: Mesh-related complications following pelvic prolapse surgery has potentiated societal fear and investigation into mesh use in inguinal hernia repair (IHR) surgery. However concern exists regarding the quality of Internet health informatics. The DISCERN Instrument and HONcode are recommended to assess the quality and reliability of health information online.1 The aim of this study is to investigate the reliability and quality of online information pertaining to mesh use in IHR surgery.
Methods: An Internet search using the keywords: ‘mesh’, ‘inguinal hernia’ and ‘surgery’ was carried out via Google, Yahoo, Bing, Facebook and Twitter. The HONcode and DISCERN scores were generated for each of the first ten search engine result pages (SERPs).
Results: Google provided the most reliable [Median HONcode score 77% (IQR 25.5%)] and highest quality information [Median DISCERN score; 61.5 (IQR 18.25)]. Social media yielded both the most unreliable and lowest quality information. Facebook was the most unreliable [Median HONcode score 21% (IQR 14.25%)], while Twitter imparted the lowest quality information [Median DISCERN score of 18.5 (IQR 25.25)].
Discussion: The use of mesh in IHR is safe and associated with superior outcomes.2 However numerous SERPs present results contradicting this, based solely upon Level 5 evidence. Commercialisation of the Internet has resulted in search engine optimisation which can permit lesser quality sites to obtain higher SERP ranking. Alarmingly as patients carry out a limited search,3 this low quality, sensationalist evidence may be the only information reviewed. As such this may negatively impact the patient decision-making process detrimentally. However utilisation of social media by healthcare professionals may offer a solution to bridge the gap between the public and high quality medical information.
Conclusions: Online information regarding mesh repair of inguinal herniae is of variable quality and reliability. Enhanced quality assurance of online health information is necessary.
1. Zhou L, Zhang D, Yang C, Wang Y. Harnessing Social Media For Health Information Management. Electron Commer Res Appl. 2018;27:139-51.
2. Lockhart K, Dunn D, Teo S, Ng Jy, Dhillon M, Teo E, Et Al. Mesh Versus Non-Mesh For Inguinal And Femoral Hernia Repair. Cochrane Database Of Systematic Reviews. 2018(9).
3. Petrescu P, Ghita M, Loiz D. Google Organic Ctr Study. 2014. Advanced Web Ranking. Url: https://www.Advancedwebranking. Com/Google-Ctr …; 2014.
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