Readability assessment of internet-based patient education materials related to parathyroid surgery

Chirag R. Patel, Saurin Sanghvi, Deepa V. Cherla, Soly Baredes, Jean Eloy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

12 Scopus citations


Objectives: Patient education is critical in obtaining informed consent and reducing preoperative anxiety. Written patient education material (PEM) can supplement verbal communication to improve understanding and satisfaction. Published guidelines recommend that health information be presented at or below a sixth-grade reading level to facilitate comprehension. We investigate the grade level of online PEMs regarding parathyroid surgery. Methods: A popular internet search engine was used to identify PEM discussing parathyroid surgery. Four formulas were used to calculate readability scores: Flesch Reading Ease (FRE), Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level (FKGL), Gunning Frequency of Gobbledygook (GFOG), and Simple Measure of Gobbledygook (SMOG). Results: Thirty web-based articles discussing parathyroid surgery were identified. The average FRE score was 42.8 (± 1 standard deviation [SD] 16.3; 95% confidence interval [CI], 36.6-48.8; range, 6.1-71.3). The average FKGL score was 11.7 (± 1 SD 3.3; 95% CI, 10.5-12.9; range, 6.1-19.0). The SMOG scores averaged 14.2 (± 1 SD 2.6; 95% CI, 13.2-15.2; range, 10.7-21.9), and the GFOG scores averaged 15.0 (± 1 SD 3.5; 95% CI, 13.7-16.3; range, 10.6-24.8). Conclusion: Online PEM on parathyroid surgery is written above the recommended sixth-grade reading level. Improving readability of PEM may promote better health education and compliance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)523-527
Number of pages5
JournalAnnals of Otology, Rhinology and Laryngology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Otorhinolaryngology

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