Document Detail

Internet-derived patient information on common oral pathologies: is it readable?
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  15119094     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
BACKGROUND: The evolution of the Internet has made available to the public vast reserves of information, and it represents a tremendous educational resource. However, it is obviously important that information directed at patients is readable and understandable. OBJECTIVE: This study aimed to evaluate the readability of patient-related Internet sites presenting information on dental caries, periodontal disease, oral cancer and mouth ulcers. METHODOLOGY: Four separate Internet searches seeking patient information on these pathologies were conducted in May 2003. In total, 5127 sites were identified. Within each search, the first 25 sites identified as of relevance to patients seeking information were downloaded (100 in total), and the readability determined using the Flesch reading score and the Flesch-Kinkaid reading level. RESULTS: A wide range of reading ease scores was obtained, equating to reading ages from seven years to university entry level. The mean reading age of the sites evaluated was 10-11 years of age, higher than the estimated reading age of the UK population in general (nine years). Scores were broadly similar across different pathologies. CONCLUSIONS: Practitioners and other members of the dental team involved in patient education should be aware that additional advice and support may be required to help patients interpret material downloaded from the Internet. Furthermore, those practices presenting educational material on their practice website should bear in mind the need to ensure that it is pitched at a level appropriate to the intended audience.
Ivor G Chestnutt
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Primary dental care : journal of the Faculty of General Dental Practitioners (UK)     Volume:  11     ISSN:  1355-7610     ISO Abbreviation:  Prim Dent Care     Publication Date:  2004 Apr 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2004-05-03     Completed Date:  2004-05-19     Revised Date:  2007-11-15    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  9617339     Medline TA:  Prim Dent Care     Country:  England    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  51-4     Citation Subset:  D    
Department of Dental Health and Biological Sciences, Dental School, University of Wales College of Medicine, Cardiff, UK.
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MeSH Terms
Dental Caries / psychology
Great Britain
Health Education, Dental*
Mouth Diseases / psychology
Patient Education as Topic

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine

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