2804. Understanding Patient Literacy: Readability of Breast Biopsy Educational Materials
Authors * Denotes Presenting Author
  1. Natasha Kaur *; Loma Linda University Medical Center
  2. Adina Achiriloaie; Loma Linda University Medical Center
Over 70% of Americans use the internet for health information; however, the United States Department of Education has determined that more than half (54%) of Americans between the ages of 16 and 74 read below the equivalent of a sixth-grade level. Furthermore, 40% of Medicare recipients read at or below a fifth-grade level. The National Institute of Health recommends that health materials be written in a grade 6 - 7 reading level. Therefore, our goal was to evaluate the readability of internet webpages that patients may encounter when searching for information on breast biopsies.

Materials and Methods:
A Google search was conducted with the search term breast biopsy. The first 40 websites were evaluated using readability software, which assessed Flesch Reading Ease, Gunning Fog, Flesch-Kincaid Grade level, and Simple Measure of Gobbledygook scores. A Fry readability chart was also created to supplement the data.

Mean ± standard deviation grade level readability, as measured by the Flesch Kinkaid Readability Score, was 10.6 ± 2.5, which remained consistent among the 4 readability scores measured. All articles had a readability score above the sixth-grade level. The readability of the online patient education materials exceeded this recommended reading level by an average of 4.6 grade levels (95% confidence interval, 3.8, 5.4; p < 0.001). Readability of the articles exceeded the eighth-grade level by an average of 2.6 grade levels (95% confidence interval, 1.8, 3.4; p < 0.001).

As more individuals seek medical information from the internet, patient educational materials may be of limited utility, because they exceed the recommended reading levels of the average American. As the life expectancy of the average American increases and the need for breast biopsies grows, it is important to evaluate patient literacy health information to ensure that they are understood by the majority of patients.