Introduction. The National Institutes of Health (NIH), American Medical Association (AMA), and the US Department of Health and Human Services (USDHHS) recommend that patient education materials (PEMs) be written between the 4th to 6th grade reading level to ensure readability by the average American. In this study, we examine the reading levels of online patient education materials from major anesthesiology organizations. Methods. Readability analysis of PEMs found on the websites of anesthesiology organizations was performed using the Flesch Reading Ease score, Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level, Simple Measure of Gobbledygook, Gunning Frequency of Gobbledygook, New Dale-Chall test, Coleman-Liau Index, New Fog Count, Raygor Readability Estimate, the FORCAST test, and the Fry Score. Results. Most patient educational materials from the websites of the anesthesiology organizations evaluated were written at or above the 10th grade reading level. Conclusions. Online patient education materials from the major anesthesiology societies are written at levels higher than an average American adult reading skill level and higher than recommended by National Institute of Health, American Medical Association, and US Department of Health and Human Services. Online resources should be revised to improve readability. Simplifying text, using shorter sentences and terms are strategies online resources can implement to improve readability. Future studies should incorporate comprehensibility, user-friendliness, and linguistic ease to further understand the implications on overall healthcare.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Immunology and Microbiology(all)