Journal of Cancer Education

, Volume 33, Issue 5, pp 1132–1139 | Cite as

The Quality of Patient Information Booklets for Cancer Patients—an Evaluation of Free Accessible Material in German Language

  • Christian KeinkiEmail author
  • Ivonne Rudolph
  • Dana Ruetters
  • Ulrike Kuenzel
  • Jessica Lobitz
  • Maike Schaefer
  • Hani Hanaya
  • Jutta Huebner


According to the information-seeking behaviors of patients, booklets which can be downloaded from the Internet for free are an important source of information notably for patients with cancer. This study investigated whether information booklets for patients with cancer available at German websites are in accordance with the formal and content criteria of evidence-based information. We compared and compiled both content and formal criteria by matching different national and international standards for written patient information using a merged instrument. A catalog with a total of 16 items within 4 categories (quality of the publication, quality of information, quality of information representation, and transparency) was created. Patient information booklets for the most frequent tumor types were collected from the Internet. A total of 52 different patient booklets were downloaded and assessed. Overall, no booklet fulfilled all criteria. The quality of the publications was evaluated with an average value of 1.67 while the quality of the information had a mean value of 1.45, and the quality of information presentation had a similar rating (1.39). The transparency criteria were evaluated as lowest with an average of 1.07. In summary, German booklets for cancer patients have some shortcomings concerning formal and content criteria for evidence-based patient information. The applied requirement catalog is suitable for wide use and may help in quality assurance of health information. It may be used as part of an obligatory external evaluation, which could help improving the quality of health information.


Evidence-based health information Patient information booklets Health literacy Oncology 


Compliance with Ethical Standards


This research did not receive any specific grant from funding agencies in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors.

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants performed by any of the authors.


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Copyright information

© American Association for Cancer Education 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christian Keinki
    • 1
    Email author
  • Ivonne Rudolph
    • 1
  • Dana Ruetters
    • 1
  • Ulrike Kuenzel
    • 2
  • Jessica Lobitz
    • 1
  • Maike Schaefer
    • 1
  • Hani Hanaya
    • 1
  • Jutta Huebner
    • 1
  1. 1.Working Group Integrative Oncology, Dr. Senckenberg Chronomedical InstituteJ.W. Goethe UniversityFrankfurtGermany
  2. 2.Technical University BrandenburgBrandenburg an der HavelGermany

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