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J Genet Couns. 2009 Feb;18(1):49-59. doi: 10.1007/s10897-008-9181-0. Epub 2008 Oct 21.

Tools for assessing readability and quality of health-related Web sites.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, USA.


With the Internet becoming a growing source of information on genetics, genetic counselors and other health-care providers may be called upon to guide their patients to appropriate material, which is written at a suitable reading level for the individual and contains quality information. Given that many health-related Web sites are written at a high school or higher reading level, without direction from a genetic counselor or health-care provider, many Internet users may currently be turning to health-related Web sites that they do not understand. Additionally, Internet users may not know how to evaluate the quality of information they find, which could lead to them access inaccurate or irrelevant information. To aid in the process of finding and designing Web sites that are appropriate for patients, the current article provides guidelines for assessing readability and quality of health-related content. Additionally, a demonstration of an assessment is provided. Finally, limitations of these assessments are discussed.

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