Korean J Intern Med.  2019 Nov;34(6):1215-1222. 10.3904/kjim.2018.019.

Quality of information on the Internet for Korean patients with inflammatory bowel disease

  • 1Division of Gastroenterology, Department of Internal Medicine, School of Medicine, Kyungpook National University, Daegu, Korea. dandy813@hanmail.net
  • 2Department of Internal Medicine, Inje University Busan Paik Hospital, Busan, Korea.


The Internet is the main resource for health-related information. The incidence of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is rapidly increasing in Asian countries. However, the quality of websites for IBD available in this region has not been evaluated. We aimed to evaluate the quality of the information on IBD obtained from Korean websites.
Using the terms "Crohn's disease" or "ulcerative colitis," websites were selected from those obtained with the three most renowned search engines in Korea; 60 websites from the results of each engine were chosen. The websites were classified into institutional, commercial, charitable, supportive, or alternative medicine types according to the characteristics of each site. The websites were evaluated regarding content quality using the validated DISCERN instrument and the Journal of the American Medical Association benchmarks.
The median score of all the websites according to the DISCERN instrument was 32 (interquartile range, 25 to 47) out of 80, indicating an insufficient overall quality of information. The alternative medicine sites scored the lowest, whereas the institutional sites scored the highest (p < 0.05). The quality of information was significantly different among the search engines (p = 0.028). The rank of appearance in the Google search result did not correlate with the quality level of the information.
The quality of information on the Internet regarding IBD varied according to the website type and search engine. Accreditation and quality assurance systems should be implemented for websites to ensure that the public and patients obtain accurate information on IBD.


Inflammatory bowel diseases; Crohn disease; Colitis, ulcerative; Internet; Quality improvement
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