The Assessment of Quality, Accuracy, and Readability of Online Educational Resources for Platelet-Rich Plasma

Jason H. Ghodasra, Dean Wang, Rohit G. Jayakar, Andrew R. Jensen, Kent T. Yamaguchi, Vishal V. Hegde, Kristofer J. Jones

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: To critically evaluate the quality, accuracy, and readability of readily available Internet patient resources for platelet-rich plasma (PRP) as a treatment modality for musculoskeletal injuries. Methods: Using the 3 most commonly used Internet search engines (Google, Bing, Yahoo), the search term “platelet rich plasma” was entered, and the first 50 websites from each search were reviewed. The website's affiliation was identified. Quality was evaluated using 25-point criteria based on guidelines published by the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, and accuracy was assessed with a previously described 12-point grading system by 3 reviewers independently. Readability was evaluated using the Flesch-Kincaid (FK) grade score. Results: A total of 46 unique websites were identified and evaluated. The average quality and accuracy was 9.4 ± 3.4 (maximum 25) and 7.9 ± 2.3 (maximum 12), respectively. The average FK grade level was 12.6 ± 2.4, which is several grades higher than the recommended eighth-grade level for patient education material. Ninety-one percent (42/46) of websites were authored by physicians, and 9% (4/46) contained commercial bias. Mean quality was significantly greater in websites authored by health care providers (9.8 ± 3.1 vs 5.9 ± 4.7, P =.029) and in websites without commercial bias (9.9 ± 3.1 vs 4.5 ± 3.2, P =.002). Mean accuracy was significantly lower in websites authored by health care providers (7.6 ± 2.2 vs 11.0 ± 1.2, P =.004). Only 24% (11/46) reported that PRP remains an investigational treatment. Conclusions: The accuracy and quality of online patient resources for PRP are poor, and the information overestimates the reading ability of the general population. Websites authored by health care providers had higher quality but lower accuracy. Additionally, the majority of websites do not identify PRP as an experimental treatment, which may fail to provide appropriate patient understanding and expectations. Clinical Relevance: Physicians should educate patients that many online patient resources have poor quality and accuracy and can be difficult to read.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)272-278
Number of pages7
JournalArthroscopy - Journal of Arthroscopic and Related Surgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2018
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine

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