Thumbnail Image

Biliary tree of knowledge: Assessing cholecystitis Google searches

Phelps, Cole R.
Van Vleet, Jared
Shepard, Samuel
Hughes, Griffin
Potter, Ike T.
Sharp, Ali
Diener, Brian C.
Vassar, M.
Introduction/Objectives: Cholecystitis is a common form of upper abdominal pain. With its high prevalence and the various non-surgical and surgical treatment options, we believe patients are searching the internet for questions pertinent to cholecystitis. No investigation has ever been completed into cholecystitis Google searches, therefore we sought to classify these questions as well as assess their levels of quality and transparency using Google’s Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).
Methods: We searched Google using search terms involving cholecystitis treatment. The FAQs were classified by the Rothwell Classification schema and each source was categorized. Transparency and quality of the sources' information were evaluated with the Journal of the American Medical Association’s (JAMA) Benchmark tool and Brief DISCERN.
Results: Our Google search returned 325 unique FAQs after removing duplicates and unrelated FAQs. Most of the questions pertained to surgical treatment (190/325, 58.5%), followed by disease process (79/325, 24.3%), and then non-surgical treatment (56/325, 17.2%). Medical practices accounted for the highest amount of FAQs unable to meet the JAMA benchmark (107/146, 73%). The one-way analysis of variance revealed a significant difference in median quality of Brief DISCERN scores among the 5 source types (H(4) = 49.89, P<0.001) with media outlets (10/30) and medical practices (12/30) scoring the lowest compared to academic sources which scored highest (21/30).
Conclusions: Medical practices are the most frequent source Google recommends for FAQs but deliver the lowest quality and transparency. To increase the quality and transparency of online information regarding cholecystitis treatment, online sources should strive to include the date, author, and references for online information.