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1B Alam, 2RB Gore. 1Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Preston and Chorley, UK, 2University of Manchester, Manchester, UK

Introduction and Objectives: Leaflets and health-related websites are important sources of information for patients and should be readily available to help them understand their clinical condition. Well-written information leaflets have been shown to reduce levels of anxiety and result in fewer treatment-related side effects. Health information is best understood by a majority of adults when written for a reading age of 10 years. We aimed to review a large number of commonly available respiratory information resources and to assess their readability.

Methods: Respiratory patient information leaflets and patient-targeted websites were chosen to reflect a full range of respiratory diseases. All reviewed leaflets and websites are current (2008). Two readability tests were used: the SMOG index (simple measure of gobbledegook, McLaughlin, 1969) and the FRE index (Flesch reading ease, Flesch 1948). Such readability formulae use sentence and word length to determine a readability score. The scores have been validated against reading age and can therefore be used to estimate the level of education required in order to understand the information. As a comparator, tabloid leader articles published on one day were also reviewed.

Results: Forty-seven respiratory information sheets, 14 patient-targeted respiratory websites and eight tabloid leaders were evaluated. The median (range) readability scores and reading ages are given in the table. When either readability tool was used, not one source of information corresponded to the recommended reading age of 10 years or less. The median FRE index value for leaflets and websites corresponded to the “fairly difficult” category. The SMOG and FRE scores were highly negatively correlated (R2  =  −0.71, p<0.001). The greatest difference between groups was seen between the websites (most difficult) and tabloids (easiest) (SMOG …

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