Journal of Current Research on Health Sector (JoCReHeS) - ISSN: 2547-9636

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A New Perspective on Readability and Content Assessment of Patient Information Texts Published on the Internet Sites on Lymphedema

Nowadays, internet is the most common shared resource that patients and their relatives refer to obtain information about health problems. Given that these health information texts prepared in this platform are read for informational purposes by people who do not work in the health field, preparing these texts by considering peoples’ education level should be the basic rule. Readability concept is a numerical data developped during the last 20 years to measure the readability so the degree of benefit of concerned texts. The aim of our study is to evaluate readability scales and content accuracy of lymphedema informational texts scanned in search engines independent of its ethiology. A total of 300 websites in the first 10 pages of internet search engine “Google” were searched by using the “lymphedema” keyword and evaluated for the quality of search resources. Sites with less information than 20 sentences, chat, forum and commercial blog sites were excluded from the study. The information texts in these sites were transferred to the Microsoft Office Word program. Average word count, average syllable number and words with an average syllable number of 3 and above were calculated. Ateşman and Bezirci-Yılmaz readability formulas were used to analyze average readability level. Text content accuracy was also evaluated according to information level separately. 28 target sites were found within 300 internet sites scanned for lymphedema keyword in Google search engine by applying exclusion criterias of the study and eliminating the repeated ones. The average readability level of all these internet sites was 58.81(SD: 10.88) according to Ateşman readability formula and 11.47 (SD:3.48) according to Bezirci-Yılmaz formula. In the light of this data, texts were evaluated as moderately difficult according to Ateşman readability formula and comprehensible to people at high-school degree according to the Bezirci-Yılmaz formula. While most of the texts contain information about the treatment modalities of lymphedema, information about definition and ethiology, preventive measures and complications found less place in the context. When analyzed within the range of educational level, the readability level of internet sites informational texts on lymphedema targeting patient education are detected moderately difficult and at the level of 11th-12th classes literacy. Published lymphedema texts are found to be suitable for target population in terms of readability criterias but when evaluated according to their context, especially a necessity of revision comes out in the informations about preventive measures. We need to emphasize that health organisations and institutions related to subject are supposed to work together in order to realise these revisions.

Lymphedema , readability, internet texts


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