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“Quality, Readability, and Understandability of Online Posterior Glottic Stenosis Information”

Published:December 28, 2022DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jvoice.2022.11.036

      Summary

      Objectives

      To assess the quality, readability, and understandability of posterior glottic stenosis (PGS) information available to patients online.

      Methods

      The top 50 Google search results for “posterior glottic stenosis” were categorized based on website affiliation and target audience (patient or provider). Readability was assessed using the Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level (FKGL) and the Flesch Reading Ease (FRE) scores. The DISCERN tool was used to assess quality and the Patient Education Assessment Tool for Printed Materials (PEMAT-P) was used to assess understandability and actionability. Simple descriptive statistics were used to analyze the data.

      Results

      36 of the top 50 results were eligible for scoring. 17% (6 of 36) were classified as patient-focused while 83% (30 of 36) were provider-focused. Patient-focused materials had a higher mean FRE score (36.9) than provider-focused materials (15.5) (P < 0.001). Patient-focused materials had an average reading level of 12.5 compared to 15.8 for provider-focused materials (P < 0.001). There was a significant correlation between overall PEMAT-P and DISCERN (r = 0.63, P < 0.001), PEMAT-P understandability and DISCERN (r = 0.63, P < 0.001) and FRES and FKGL (r = -0.67, P < 0.001). From this, we can infer that higher quality sites are easier to understand but not necessarily tailored to a certain reading level.

      Conclusions

      Shared decision making in PGS management is crucial as patients must be aware of how treatment modalities affect airway, voice, and swallowing. However, this study shows that patient targeted PGS information is limited, and the readability, quality, and understandability is generally low. We suggest the development of web pages with PGS information tailored for patient education and search optimization to make this information appear earlier in Google search results. Furthermore, future studies should seek to characterize the link between online health information and socioeconomic-based health disparities.
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