Information Systems and Technology (CGU)
Databases and Information Systems | Management Information Systems | Medicine and Health Sciences
Millions of people search online for medical text, but these texts are often too complicated to understand. Readability evaluations are mostly based on surface metrics such as character or words counts and sentence syntax, but content is ignored. We compared four types of documents, easy and difficult WebMD documents, patient blogs, and patient educational material, for surface and content-based metrics. The documents differed significantly in reading grade levels and vocabulary used. WebMD pages with high readability also used terminology that was more consumer-friendly. Moreover, difficult documents are harder to understand due to their grammar and word choice and because they discuss more difficult topics. This indicates that we can simplify many documents by focusing on word choice in addition to sentence structure, however, for difficult documents this may be insufficient.
© 2008 AMIA
G. Leroy, E. Eryilmaz, and B. T. Laroya, "Health Information Text Characteristics", American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA) Annual Symposium, Washington DC, November 11-15, 2006.