Previous research demonstrates that patients seek high-quality information on the World Wide Web, especially in rare conditions such as microtia
. Social media
has overtaken other sources of patient information but quality remains untested. This study quantifies the quality of information for patients with Microtia
on social media
compared with nonsocial media websites and compares physician and patient scoring on quality using the DISCERN tool.
In phase 1, quality of the top 100 websites featuring information “Microtia
” was ranked according to quality score and position on Google showing the position of social media
websites among other nonsocial media websites. Phase 2 involved independent scoring of websites on microtia
compared with a patient group with microtia
to test whether physicians score differently to patients with t
Results: Social media
websites account for 2% of the scored websites with health providers linking to social media
. Social media
websites were among the highest ranked on Google. No correlation was found between the quality of information and Google rank. Social media
scored higher than nonsocial media websites regarding quality of information on microtia
. No significant difference existed between physician and patient quality of information scores on social media
and nonsocial media websites (p 1.033).
Physicians and patients objectively score microtia
websites alike. Social media
websites have higher use despite being few in number compared with nonsocial media websites. Physicians providing links to social media
on information websites on rare conditions such as microtia
are engaging in current information-seeking trends.