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Revista Española de Salud Pública

On-line version ISSN 2173-9110Print version ISSN 1135-5727


BLANCO PEREZ, Azucena  and  GUTIERREZ COUTO, Uxía. Readability of the Health Webpages for Patients and Readers among the General Population . Rev. Esp. Salud Publica [online]. 2002, vol.76, n.4, pp.321-331. ISSN 2173-9110.

Background: Internet is becoming now becoming one of the major healthcare information sources. Aside from this popularity, new questions are now coming to bear, such as the quality of the information provided or its ability to convey knowledge. The purpose of this study is that of gauging the degree of readability of this information for patients which is accessible on the Internet in Spanish. Methods: A total of 112 webpages dealing with seven (7) chronic diseases were selected. Based on the Microsoft Word readability statistics, we recovered the data of the number of syllables and sentences in the first 100 words in each document. For calculating readability, we used the adaptation of the Flesch degree formula for the Spanish language devised by Fernández Huerta. Results: The mean readability of the documents is 65.16 (± 14.75), thus corresponding to a standard level, in other words, a thirteen-year-old’s reading level. Conclusions: Although the readability scores found for the documents analyzed are good, they are not optimum for the users searching for health-related information on the Internet. It is essential that these informative documents be adapted to these users’ readability level.. The need for studies evaluating the consequences entailed in the low degree of health-related literacy entails the incorrect use of medications, mistakes in preparing for diagnostic tests and an increase in the costs of healthcare services.

Keywords : Computer literacy; Patient education; Reading; Internet.

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