Partial nephrectomy online: A preliminary evaluation of the quality of health information on the Internet

Angela M. Fast, Christopher M. Deibert, Celia Boyer, Gregory W. Hruby, James M. McKiernan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE • To further evaluate the quality of information available on the Internet with regard to the management of localized renal cancer, we evaluated websites providing information on 'partial nephrectomy' in conjunction with the Health On the Internet (HON) Foundation. Many patients now utilize the Internet as a resource to provide further information on disease, treatments and outcomes, and health information on the Internet is largely unregulated. Inaccurate information may contribute to unrealistic expectations and dissatisfied patients. PATIENTS AND METHODS • A search identified the top 30 websites for the search term 'partial nephrectomy'. • The HON Foundation evaluated each website according to the eight principles for Health on the Internet code of conduct (HONcode) certification and reported the overall frequency of certification, as well as individual website compliance with each of the principles. RESULTS • Overall, seven (23.3%) of 30 websites met the requirements of HONcode certification and an additional two (6.7%) websites were under review to maintain their certification based on updating their resources. • The remaining 21 (70%) websites did not meet the standards for certification. • The lowest performing criteria included proper citation of medical information and a clear distinction of advertising from editorial content. CONCLUSIONS • The low rate of HONcode compliance for these websites illustrates the poor quality of information that patients may encounter when researching options for nephronsparing surgery, which may have a significant impact on patient decision-making and treatment choices. • Physicians should be aware of the quality of Internet resources and how to best use these tools to help guide patients to websites with valid information.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E765-E769
JournalBJU International
Issue number11 B
StatePublished - Dec 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • HONcode
  • Internet quality
  • Partial nephrectomy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Urology


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