Webometrics-based Analysis and Ranking of Iranian Hospital Websites

Document Type: Research Paper

Authors

1 Hospital Management Research Center (HMRC), Iran University of Medical Sciences (IUMS), Tehran, Iran

2 Department of Industrial Engineering, School of Engineering, Tarbiat Modares University, Tehran, Iran

3 Department of Civil Engineering, Malayer University, Malayer, Iran

Abstract

Background and Objectives: Active presence of hospitals on the Internet is becoming a hallmark of hospitals’ commitment to quality healthcare services delivery. For insightful planning towards a strong Internet-based information delivery and communication, there is a need for continuous monitoring of hospital website’s status. Built on this need, this paper provides, for the first time, a ranking of a large number of Iranian hospital websites based on standard webometric methods. Methods: The study targeted ranking of all hospitals affiliated with the Iranian Ministry of Health and Medical Education. Name and URLs of the hospitals were obtained from the official website of the Ministry and then updated using web search, when needed. Hospital websites with un-standard URLs and extremely limited content were excluded from the study, and the remaining websites were analyzed and ranked according to webomeric measures. Findings: A ranking list of 93 hospitals was obtained. The three top-rank websites belong to the hospitals affiliated with Tehran University of Medical Sciences followed by websites of hospitals of Beheshti and Shiraz universities of medical sciences. The top 20 websites belong to hospitals affiliated with only seven medical universities among 17 surveyed. The size, visibility, and richness of hospital websites showed significant intercorrelations (P < 0.001). In addition, regression analysis identified significant linear relationship between hospital websites’ visibility and size (β = 0.6, P < 0.001). On the other extreme, websites of most hospitals affiliated with Babol, Ahwaz, and Hamedan, and Birjand universities of medical sciences constitute the lowest 10 rank group. While these low rank hospital websites slightly differ in size, they share an identical rank (the lowest among) all in terms of visibility and richness. Conclusions: This obtained ranking list of the hospitals can help hospital administrators to evaluate the strength of their on-line presence and plan to improve their status on the web. The fact that the top 20 and the lowest 10 rank hospital websites cluster into a few medical universities highlights the importance of support from holding universities for strong presence of their affiliated hospitals on the web. In addition, identification of significant positive relationship between size and visibility of hospital websites encourages hospital administrators to synergistically improve their webometric rank by increasing the size of their websites.

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