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June 1997

Pediatric Internet Resources: Creation and Growth of the PEDINFO Index

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Pediatrics, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Children's Hospital.

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 1997;151(6):592-597. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1997.02170430058012

Objective:  To illustrate the growth of pediatric-related material on the Internet as demonstrated by the growth and use of an index of pediatric Internet re

Design:  Descriptive analysis.

Methods:  The log files of the computer systems on which the PEDINFO index was implemented were examined. File size of the index was measured, and a record of Internet hosts that connected to the server each day was produced. A proportion of Internet sites (n=300) were examined for author reliability and practice enhancement value.

Results:  In a period of 14 months, the file size grew from 7 kilobytes (KB) to more than 80 KB. By November 1995, usage exceeded 250 individuals per day and has since then leveled off to about 180 users per day. Analysis of the domains of the users showed a shift from equal proportion of "com" (commercially obtained Internet addresses) and "edu" (educational institution) addresses to an increase in com addresses with a stable proportion of edu addresses. One hundred twenty-seven sites contained patient or parent information, and 62 sites contained reference material. There was a wide range of author reliability ratings.

Conclusions:  From the growth of PEDINFO, we conclude that an increase in pediatric-related information available on the Internet is steady, much of which is patient or parent educational material. We anticipate further growth and use of the Internet in the exchange of information and call for further education regarding its use so that pediatricians can more easily direct their patients to the most medically relevant sources.Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 1997;151:592-597