Korean J Intern Med.  2021 Jan;36(1):86-96. 10.3904/kjim.2018.359.

The quality of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease information resources for patients on the internet in Korea

  • 1Department of Internal Medicine, Keimyung University School of Medicine, Daegu, Korea


Many patients uses the internet to obtain information about their diseases. However, there is increasing concern regarding the quality of internet information. Thus, we aimed to systematically evaluate the quality of websites containing educational information about non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) in Korea.
Naver, Daum, and Google search engines were searched using the term “non-alcoholic fatty liver disease” in Korean. Two reviewers independently evaluated website quality using the quality evaluation instrument (QEI), which awarded websites scores for specific information on various aspects of NAFLD, as well as a five-point Likert scale (1–5), the DISCERN instrument, and a global quality scale (GQS).
Forty-seven websites met the inclusion criteria. We found that the quality of the internet information about NAFLD is generally poor. The mean QEI score with standard deviation was 10.31 ± 5.09 (range, 4 to 22), with only 17% of websites scoring higher than 10 points. The median GQS of the websites was 2.0, with no website achieving a score of 4 or 5. The QEI score was highly associated with the GQS score (r = 0.74, p < 0.01). For each DISCERN question from question 1 to question 15, the mean score was less than 3.
Overall, the internet health information for patients regarding NAFLD is poor and in need of much improvement. There is a need for institutional support, qualitative regulation of internet information, and development of an accreditation system to provide patients with internet health information of appropriate quality.


Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease; Information resource guide; Internet
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