International Journal of Colorectal Disease

, Volume 32, Issue 6, pp 917–920 | Cite as

A quantitative readability analysis of patient education resources from gastroenterology society websites

  • David R. Hansberry
  • Sahil R. Patel
  • Prateek Agarwal
  • Nitin Agarwal
  • Elizabeth S. John
  • Ann M. John
  • James C. Reynolds
Short Communication

Abstract

Background and aims

The lay public frequently access and rely on online information as a source of their medical knowledge. Many medical societies are unaware of national patient education material guidelines and subsequently fail to meet them. The goal of the present study was to evaluate the readability of patient education materials within the medical field of gastroenterology.

Methods

Two hundred fourteen articles pertaining to patient education materials were evaluated with ten well-established readability scales. The articles were available on the websites for the American College of Gastroenterology (ACG), the American Gastroenterological Association (AGA), the American Society of Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (ASGE), the British Society of Gastroenterology (BSG), and the NIH section National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK). One-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) and Tukey’s honest significant difference (HSD) post hoc analysis were conducted to determine any differences in level of readability between websites.

Results

The 214 articles were written at an 11.8 ± 2.1 grade level with a range of 8.0 to 16.0 grade level. A one-way ANOVA and Tukey’s HSD post hoc analysis determined the ACG was written at a significantly (p < 0.05) more difficult level when compared to the AGA, the BSG, and the NIDDK websites. No differences were noted when comparing the ASGE website.

Conclusions

None of the patient education materials were written at a level that met national guidelines. If the materials are redrafted, the general American public will likely have a greater understanding of the gastroenterology content.

Keywords

Gastroenterology Readability Health literacy Internet Patient education 

References

  1. 1.
    Internet & American Life Project (2011) Demographics of internet users. Pew Research Center, Washington D.C.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Diaz JAGR, Ng JJ, Reinert SE, Friedmann PD, Moulton AW (2002) Patients’ use of the internet for medical information. J Gen Intern Med 17:180–185CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    National Institutes of Health (2012) How to write easy to read health materials. National Library of Medicine Website. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/etr.html. Accessed 4 Jan 2012
  4. 4.
    Weis BD (2003) Health literacy: a manual for clinicians. Chicago, American Medical Association, American Medical FoundationGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    US Department of Health and Human Services-Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (2009) Simply put—a guide for creating easy-to-undestand materials, 3 edn. US Department of Health and Human Services-Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), AtlantaGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Hansberry DR, Agarwal N, Gonzales SF, Baker SR (2014) Are we effectively informing patients? A quantitative analysis of online patient education resources from the American Society of Neuroradiology. Am J Neuroradiol 35(7):1270–1275. doi:10.3174/ajnr.A3854 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Agarwal N, Feghhi DP, Gupta R, Hansberry DR, Heary RF, Goldstein IM (2014) A comparative analysis of minimally invasive and open spine surgery patient education resources. J Neurosurg Spine 21(3):468–474CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Eloy JA, Li S, Kasabwala K, Agarwal N, Hansberry DR, Baredes S et al (2012) Readability assessment of patient education materials on major otolaryngology association websites. Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg 147(3):466–471. doi:10.1177/0194599812456152 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Agarwal N, Hansberry DR, Sabourin V, Tomei KL, Prestigiacomo CJ (2013) A comparative analysis of the quality of patient education materials from medical specialties. JAMA Intern Med 8(173):1257–1259. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2013.6060 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Ryan C, Bauman K (2016) Educational attainment in the United States: 2015. United States Census Bureau. http://www.census.gov/content/dam/Census/library/publications/2016/demo/p20-578.pdf
  11. 11.
    Berkman ND, DeWalt, D.A., Pignone, M.P., Sheridan, S.L., Lohr, K.N., Lux, L., Sutton, S.F., Swinson, T., Bonito, A.J. Literacy and health outcomes. Evidence report/technology assessment no. 87 (Prepared by RTI International—University of North Carolina Evidence-based Practice Center under Contract No. 290–02-0016). 2004(AHRQ Publication No. 04-E007-2. Rockville, MD: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality)Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    National Center for Education Statistics (2006) The health literacy of America’s adults: results from the 2003 National Assessment of Adult Literacy. United States Department of Education https://nces.ed.gov/pubs2006/2006483.pdf

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • David R. Hansberry
    • 1
  • Sahil R. Patel
    • 2
  • Prateek Agarwal
    • 3
  • Nitin Agarwal
    • 4
  • Elizabeth S. John
    • 5
  • Ann M. John
    • 6
  • James C. Reynolds
    • 7
  1. 1.Department of RadiologyThomas Jefferson University HospitalsPhiladelphiaUSA
  2. 2.Department of Medicine, Division of Gastroenterology, Hahnemann University HospitalDrexel University College of MedicinePhiladelphiaUSA
  3. 3.Perelman School of Medicine at the University of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA
  4. 4.Department of Neurological SurgeryUniversity of Pittsburgh Medical CenterPittsburghUSA
  5. 5.Department of MedicineRutgers University, Robert Wood Johnson Medical SchoolNew BrunswickUSA
  6. 6.Department of MedicineRutgers University, New Jersey Medical SchoolNewarkUSA
  7. 7.Department of Medicine, Division of Gastroenterology, Perelman School of MedicineUniversity of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA

Personalised recommendations