Majority of orthopedic device educational material too complex for patients to understand — 4 insights

A study, published in The Journal of Arthroplasty, assessed readability of online patient education materials from orthopedic implant manufacturers.

Meghan Yi, MD, of Albany (N.Y.) Medical College, and colleagues evaluated 581 patient articles from 2013 hosted on the websites of five large orthopedic implant manufacturers. They evaluated the materials using the Flesch-Kincaid readability test. The average reading level of U.S. adults is less than or equal to an eighth-grade level.

Here's what they found:

1. The overall reading level was 10.9 on the FK scale.

2. Only 58 articles were written at the average U.S. adult reading level.

3. Thirteen articles were written at or lower than a sixth-grade reading level.

4. The mean FK grade level varied by manufacturer. Smith & Nephew had the highest at 12.0, Stryker was second highest at 11.6, Biomet was third at 11.3, DePuy Synthes was at 10.6 and Zimmer was the lowest at 10.1.

Researchers concluded, "The majority of patient education materials from implant manufacturers are written at a level too high to be comprehended by the average patient. Future efforts should be made to improve the readability of orthopedic patient education materials."

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