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Int Forum Allergy Rhinol. 2013 Apr;3(4):325-33. doi: 10.1002/alr.21097. Epub 2012 Oct 8.

Readability assessment of the American Rhinologic Society patient education materials.

Author information

1
Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, New Jersey Medical School, Newark, NJ 07103, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The extensive amount of medical literature available on the Internet is frequently accessed by patients. To effectively contribute to healthcare decision-making, these online resources should be worded at a level that is readable by any patient seeking information. The American Medical Association and National Institutes of Health recommend the readability of patient information material should be between a 4th to 6th grade level. In this study, we evaluate the readability of online patient education information available from the American Rhinologic Society (ARS) website using 9 different assessment tools that analyze the materials for reading ease and grade level of the target audience.

METHODS:

Online patient education material from the ARS was downloaded in February 2012 and assessed for level of readability using the Flesch Reading Ease, Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level, Simple Measure of Gobbledygook (SMOG) Grading, Coleman-Liau Index, Gunning-Fog Index, FORCAST formula, Raygor Readability Estimate, the Fry Graph, and the New Dale-Chall Readability Formula. Each article was pasted as plain text into a Microsoft® Word® document and each subsection was analyzed using the software package Readability Studio Professional Edition Version 2012.1.

RESULTS:

All healthcare education materials assessed were written between a 9th grade and graduate reading level and were considered "difficult" to read by the assessment scales.

CONCLUSION:

Online patient education materials on the ARS website are written above the recommended 6th grade level and may require revision to make them easily understood by a broader audience.

PMID:
23044857
DOI:
10.1002/alr.21097
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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