Search Engines Not Always Best Source for Health Information

Search Engines Not Always Best Source for Health Information

There’s no denying the Internet has changed how people receive the flow of information. Whether you’re wondering who played the original Darren on Bewitched or what year Oregon joined the Union, the answer to your question is just a Google search away. While the Internet offers the potential for near instantaneous access to limitless information, what users find after searching may not always be the information they need, especially when it comes to medical care.

Numerous surveys have found that an increasing number of people look for health related information on the Internet. When it comes to dentistry, dental implants ranks among the top three most frequently searched topics, right behind amalgam and aesthetic treatment. However, a recent study has found that the search results generated for the term “dental implants” don’t actually provide useful or easily comprehensible information.

A Poor Understanding

Examining the 100 highest ranked results from searching for the term “dental implants” using Yahoo and Google, researchers from the University of Santiago de Compostela discovered that the majority of search results scored poorly in terms of usability and accessibility. The information provided by the search results overall was considered seriously lacking in easily digestible and relevant information. While researchers considered the search results from Yahoo slightly better than those received from Google, no discernible difference could be determined between the usability of the two search engine’s overall results.

The poor quality of information received from even the highest-ranked search results could explain why many patients considering dental implants are misinformed about the treatment or have unrealistically high expectations regarding the potential success of the treatment, explained researchers.

In their conclusions, researchers stated that information received from the Internet regarding dental implants in English is hard to read for the average patient and substandard in terms of quality. Because of this deficit, researchers recommended the creation of new websites that offer reliable, high-quality information relating to dental implants, featuring content that is both easily understandable to the average patient and free of commercial interest.

Overall, the study listed slightly over 1.7 million results were available for “dental implants” when searching using Yahoo, while Google users had access to nearly twice that number. While it’s impossible for any patient to sift through that amount of information to find what they need, researchers hope that future E-health websites will create their content with the average consumer in mind going forward.

Ask an Expert

If you have any questions about dental implants, feel free to ask Dentist in Monroe Washington, Dr. Travis Magelsen during your next appointment. Remember, while the Internet is a wonderful source of information, there’s no substitute for asking an expert for their opinion, especially when related to your health, before reaching any decisions or conclusions about potential treatment options. So before you decide what oral health treatment might be right for you, make sure to talk with Dr. Magelsen or any member of our helpful staff.

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