Credible sources of medical information are difficult to find for patients and healthcare professionals. The European Association of Urologists (EAU) have updated their patient information website since our previous review last year. This digital review focuses on the patient information part of the EAU website. The website can be found at http://patients.uroweb.org
Ease of use
The front page has various language options (selected from the top right corner). This would be a great help in explaining procedures (even with an interpreter) to anyone who does not understand the local language. It is a great start to a very ambitious project; however, at the time of review (accessed and reviewed on 19 May 2019), some of the most widely spoken European languages, including French and Russian, are not represented.
The web page has been greatly improved with division into cancers, diseases, diagnostics, treatments, downloads, videos and other resources. Personally, I still think that it could benefit from further focus group testing and simplification. The term ‘urologic’ is not in the English language and I think is superfluous, I would shorten the terminology to ‘Cancers’, ‘Other diseases’ and ‘Tests’ instead of ‘Diagnostics’.
Each section is now alphabetically ordered. This simple ordering has greatly improved the overall feel of the website. Some sections, such as ‘Treatments’, still remain overly complicated with everything from phosphodiesterase 5 inhibitors, transurethral microwave thermotherapy (TUMT) and watchful waiting as sub-sections. I would also argue that few patients I have treated would know that they have been taking a phosphodiesterase 5 inhibitor. As this website has been designed for patients maybe further refinement of the sub-section categories would be appropriate e.g. drugs for erectile dysfunction and prostate operations need to be considered.
Patient information is presented for various urological diseases. In the sections, each disease type is broken down into sub-sections from an initial landing page. Generally, the language is simple and there are diagrams to help explain certain procedures. Although each disease section is broken into digestible sections there is no obvious navigation at the end of each sub-section to return back to more information or the main landing page of the subsection e.g. bladder cancer.
For medical professionals there are leaflets for various types of diseases. These have been greatly expanded and now are essentially printable leaflets that patients can download, read and digest in their own time.
I think the patient videos section remains the most successful part of the patient information website. The videos are animated generic videos which explain operations such as a transurethral resection of bladder tumour, ureteroscopy and JJ stent insertion. The videos are narrated in various languages and provide an easy to understand, diagrammatic explanation of the procedures in question. The animated videos have been a hit with patients and feedback showed almost all patients felt that the videos raised the level of their understanding and improved patient confidence prior to the procedure.
Unfortunately, there are still only a few videos currently available on the EAU website. These include JJ stent placement, extracorporeal shockwave lithotripsy, cystoscopy, cystectomy, changing a stoma bag, drug treatment in overactive bladder and urodynamics. The videos can now be easily shared with patients as a link which can be viewed through YouTube. This is a great improvement from last year and I look forward to the release of more patient information videos from the EAU.
The EAU’s patient information website (http://patients.uroweb.org) is continuing to educate and empower patients. I welcome the current changes and look forward to further refinements and developments so that this can become the premier portal for patient information in the field of urology.