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Gastroenterology Res. 2017 Feb;10(1):1-5. doi: 10.14740/gr746w. Epub 2017 Feb 21.

Readability of Healthcare Literature for Gastroparesis and Evaluation of Medical Terminology in Reading Difficulty.

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Department of Medicine, Temple University Health System, Philadelphia, PA, USA.



Gastroparesis is a chronic condition that can be further enhanced with patient understanding. Patients' education resources on the Internet have become increasingly important in improving healthcare literacy. We evaluated the readability of online resources for gastroparesis and the influence by medical terminology.


Google searches were performed for "gastroparesis", "gastroparesis patient education material" and "gastroparesis patient information". Following, all medical terminology was determined if included on Taber's Medical Dictionary 22nd Edition. The medical terminology was replaced independently with "help" and "helping". Web resources were analyzed with the Readability Studio Professional Edition (Oleander Solutions, Vandalia, OH) using 10 different readability scales.


The average of the 26 patient education resources was 12.7 ± 1.8 grade levels. The edited "help" group had 6.6 ± 1.0 and "helping" group had 10.4 ± 2.1 reading levels. In comparing the three groups, the "help" and "helping" groups had significantly lower readability levels (P < 0.001). The "help" group was significantly less than the "helping" group (P < 0.001).


The web resources for gastroparesis were higher than the recommended reading level by the American Medical Association. Medical terminology was shown to be the cause for this elevated readability level with all, but four resources within the recommended grade levels following word replacement.


Gastroparesis; Health literacy; Patient education as topic

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