Robotic-Assisted Total Knee Arthroplasty: An Assessment of Content, Quality, and Readability of Available Internet Resources

Background: The use of robotic-assisted total knee arthroplasty (TKA) has significantly increased over the past decade. Internet content is largely unregulated and may contain inaccurate and/or misleading information about robotic TKA. Our goal was to assess the content, quality, and readability of online material regarding robotic-assisted TKA.

Methods: We conducted an internet search for the top 50 web sites from each of the 3 most popular search engines (Google, Yahoo, and Bing) using the search term robotic total knee replacement. Each web site was assessed for content, quality, and readability. Web site quality was assessed utilizing the QUality Evaluation Scoring Tool (QUEST). Readability was assessed utilizing the Simple Measure of Gobbledygook, Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level, and Flesch Reading Ease Formula scores.

Results: General risks of TKA were discussed in 47.2%, while benefits were discussed in 98.6% of all web sites. Inaccurate claims occurred at a significantly higher rate in physician/community hospital sources compared to university/academic web sites (59% vs 28%, P = .045). Web sites from university/academic web sites had the highest QUEST scores, while physician/community hospital sources scored the lowest (16.1 vs 10.6, P = .01). Most web sites were written at a college reading level or higher.

Conclusion: Patients should be counseled on the largely unregulated nature of online information regarding robotic-assisted TKA. Physicians and hospitals should consider revising the readability of their online information to a more appropriate level in order to provide accurate, evidence-based information to allow the patient to make an informed consent decision.

Keywords: content; quality; readability; robotic total knee replacement; total knee arthroplasty.