Readability of Online Patient Educational Materials on Pain Management


Low health literacy is associated with a poorer ability to understand and follow health instructions and advice, poorer health outcomes, and poorer use of health care services. Patients with low health literacy have difficulty accessing and understanding online health materials that are not written in plain language. This study assessed the readability of patient education materials that are focused on pain, a significant contributor to clinical outcomes after orthopaedic surgery. Results revealed that the overall mean readability level of the documents that were accessed online was higher than the 10th grade. Efforts should focus on making patient education easier to understand for the nearly 80 million Americans who struggle with health literacy. (Journal of Surgical Orthopaedic Advances 24(4):242–245, 2015)

Key words: health literacy, pain, patient education, readability

SKU: JSOA-2015-24-4-W8 Categories: , Tags: , , ,

Asa Shnaekel, BS, BA; Kristie Hadden, PhD; C. Lowry Barnes, MD