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Advances in Preventive Medicine
Volume 2017 (2017), Article ID 9780317, 8 pages
Research Article

Readability Assessment of Online Patient Education Material on Congestive Heart Failure

Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine, Scranton, PA, USA

Correspondence should be addressed to Akhil Kher

Received 12 January 2017; Revised 16 April 2017; Accepted 7 May 2017; Published 1 June 2017

Academic Editor: Gerardo E. Guillén Nieto

Copyright © 2017 Akhil Kher et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Background. Online health information is being used more ubiquitously by the general population. However, this information typically favors only a small percentage of readers, which can result in suboptimal medical outcomes for patients. Objective. The readability of online patient education materials regarding the topic of congestive heart failure was assessed through six readability assessment tools. Methods. The search phrase “congestive heart failure” was employed into the search engine Google. Out of the first 100 websites, only 70 were included attending to compliance with selection and exclusion criteria. These were then assessed through six readability assessment tools. Results. Only 5 out of 70 websites were within the limits of the recommended sixth-grade readability level. The mean readability scores were as follows: the Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level (9.79), Gunning-Fog Score (11.95), Coleman-Liau Index (15.17), Simple Measure of Gobbledygook (SMOG) index (11.39), and the Flesch Reading Ease (48.87). Conclusion. Most of the analyzed websites were found to be above the sixth-grade readability level recommendations. Efforts need to be made to better tailor online patient education materials to the general population.