Session Type: Poster Session (Sunday)
Session Time: 9:00AM-11:00AM
Background/Purpose: Wikipedia is the largest open-access online collaborative encyclopedia. Several studies have shown that Wikipedia is one of the most read online source for health information by patients. As of March 2017, the English Wikipedia had over 30,000 medical articles. Data on the quality and readability of rheumatic diseases articles are lacking. At least 36% of the U.S. adults have basic or below basic health literacy; therefore, may face serious challenges in understanding health information. In this study, we aim to systematically analyze the quality of health information and the readability of Wikipedia articles on 8 common rheumatic diseases: osteoarthritis (OA), gout, rheumatoid arthritis (RA), ankylosing spondylitis (AS), psoriatic arthritis (PsA), systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), scleroderma, and Sjogren’s syndrome.
Methods: Quality of health information in the 8 Wikipedia articles was analyzed using DISCERN instrument by 2 independent reviewers trained on this validated scoring system. The readability of articles was evaluated using 7 popular formulas based on the number of sentences, words, syllables, and characters. Medical jargon level was assessed using the De-jargonizer which detects rare medical terms and hence accessibility by the public. Additional data collected include: article views, number of words, and presence of multimedia.
Results: The average DISCERN score for health information quality was found to be 3.5/5. OA article had the highest score of 3.8/5 followed by gout and Sjogren’s articles (3.6/5), whereas scleroderma article had the lowest score of 3.2/5. Articles readability ranged from “difficult” to “very difficult” (average grade level: 13th). Scleroderma article was the most difficult to read (college graduate level) whereas gout was the easiest to read (10th-11th grade level). Similarly, the jargon percentage score was highest in scleroderma with 19% rare words used and a general audience suitability score of 73/100. On the other hand, OA article had the lowest jargon percentage (10% rare words) with the highest general audience suitability score of 85/100 followed by gout article with 82/100 score. Page views for the 8 articles between 7/2015-5/2019 was 31,725,957 (average 3,965,744 views per article). Gout article was the most viewed followed by SLE and RA, whereas Sjogren’s article was the least viewed. Presence of multimedia averaged 9 images/videos per article with the highest seen in OA article.
Conclusion: Evaluation of 8 common rheumatic diseases articles on Wikipedia revealed a fair quality of health information indicating potentially important shortcomings. The readability level was at college level for most articles making these articles less accessible to the public. There seems to be a positive correlation between disease prevalence and quality of health information as well as the readability scores. Overall, these articles were well viewed and referenced and covered the important aspects of each disease. A more targeted approach and dedicated group effort is needed to improve the quality of information and the readability of these articles.
To cite this abstract in AMA style:Mohameden M, Ali A, Li Z, Mumtaz S, Reyes Yuvienco C. Wikipedia as a Source of Health Information for the Public: Systematic Analysis of Quality and Readability of 8 Common Rheumatic Diseases Articles [abstract]. Arthritis Rheumatol. 2019; 71 (suppl 10). https://acrabstracts.org/abstract/wikipedia-as-a-source-of-health-information-for-the-public-systematic-analysis-of-quality-and-readability-of-8-common-rheumatic-diseases-articles/. Accessed April 17, 2021.
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ACR Meeting Abstracts - https://acrabstracts.org/abstract/wikipedia-as-a-source-of-health-information-for-the-public-systematic-analysis-of-quality-and-readability-of-8-common-rheumatic-diseases-articles/