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J Clin Neurosci. 2013 Oct;20(10):1357-61. doi: 10.1016/j.jocn.2012.10.047. Epub 2013 Jul 1.

A comparative analysis of neurosurgical online education materials to assess patient comprehension.

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Department of Neurological Surgery, New Jersey Medical School, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, 90 Bergen Street, Suite 8100, Newark, NJ 07101-1709, USA.


Americans have increasingly utilized the internet as a first-line resource for a variety of information, including healthcare-oriented materials. Therefore, these online resources should be written at a level the average American can understand. Patient education resources specifically written for and available to the public were downloaded from the American Association of Neurological Surgeons website and assessed for their level of readability using the Flesch Reading Ease, Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level, Simple Measure of Gobbledygook Grading, Coleman-Liau Index, and Gunning-Fog Index. A total of 71 subsections from different neurosurgical specialties were reviewed, including Cerebrovascular, Spine and Peripheral Nerves, Neurotrauma and Critical Care, Pain, Pediatric, Stereotactic and Functional, and Tumor material. All neurosurgical subspecialty education material provided on the American Association of Neurological Surgeons website was uniformly written at a level that was too high, as assessed by all modalities. In order to reach a larger patient population, patient education materials on the American Association of Neurological Surgeons website should be revised with the goal of simplifying readability.


Internet; Neurosurgery; Patient education; Readability

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