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Keywords:

  • prostatectomy;
  • computer-assisted surgery;
  • laparoscopy;
  • Internet;
  • marketing;
  • patient education

Study Type – Therapy (prevalence)

Level of Evidence 2b

OBJECTIVES

• Many experts consider that media coverage, marketing and/or direct-to-consumer advertising, particularly Internet-based forms, are fundamental to the widespread adoption of robotic-assisted prostatectomy (RARP). However, this has not been explored previously.

• The primary objective of the present study was to delineate the role of media coverage and marketing of RARP on the Internet, whereas the secondary goal focused on website quality with respect to the presentation of prostatectomy.

MATERIALS AND METHODS

• Website content was evaluated for direct-to-consumer advertising after the retrieval of the first 50 websites using Google and Yahoo for each of the terms: ‘robotic prostatectomy, laparoscopic prostatectomy (LP) and open radical prostatectomy (ORP)’.

• A linear regression analysis was performed for the annual number of Internet news hits over the last decade for each procedure. Website quality assessment was performed using WHO Honesty on the Internet (HON) code principles.

RESULTS

• Of the retrieved sites, the proportion containing direct-to-consumer advertising for RARP vs LP vs ORP using Google was 64% vs 14% vs 0%, respectively (P < 0.001) and, using Yahoo, 80% vs 16% vs 0%, respectively (P < 0.001).

• In a linear regression analysis, the r2 values for news hits for each year over the last 10 years were 0.89, 0.74 and 0.76 for RARP, LP and ORP, respectively.

• Website quality assessment found that a minority of the websites were accredited with HONcode principles, with no difference between procedure types (P > 0.05).

CONCLUSIONS

• Media coverage and marketing of RARP on the Internet is more widespread compared to LP and ORP.

• Disturbingly, the quality of websites using any technique for prostatectomy was of poor quality when using principles of honest information presenting and such findings need to be discussed with respect to obtaining informed consent from patients.