We evaluated the readability of Internet-sourced patient education materials (PEMs) related to “labour analgesia.” In addition to assessing the readability of websites, we aimed to compare commercial, personal, and academic websites.
We used the most popular search engine (http://www.google.com) in our study. The first 100 websites in English that resulted from a search for the key words “labour analgesia” were scanned. Websites that were not in English, graphs, pictures, videos, tables, figures and list formats in the text, all punctuation, the number of words in the text is less than 100 words, feedback forms not related to education, (Uniform Resource Locator) URL websites, author information, references, legal disclaimers, and addresses and telephone numbers were excluded.
The texts included in the study were assessed using the Flesch Reading Ease Score (FRES), Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level (FKGL), Simple Measure of Gobbledygook (SMOG), and Gunning Frequency of Gobbledygook (FOG) readability formulae. The number of Latin words within the text was determined.
Analysis of 300-word sections of the texts revealed that the mean FRES was 47.54 ± 12.54 (quite difficult), mean FKGL and SMOG were 11.92 ± 2.59 and 10.57 ± 1.88 years of education, respectively, and mean Gunning FOG was 14.71 ± 2.76 (very difficult). Within 300-word sections, the mean number of Latin words was identified as 16.56 ± 6.37.
In our study, the readability level of Internet-sourced PEM related to “labour analgesia” was identified to be quite high indicating poor readability.