This study was done to apply established readability assessment tools to internet search results on the topic of pituitary tumors and to identify sources of complexity in order to guide the creation of POEMs that are in line with the reading level of the target audience.
After an internet search for the phrase “pituitary tumor,” the first 100 results were subjected to inclusion criteria matching. The analysis was performed using 5 readability assessment tools including FRE, FKGL, GFS, CLI, and SMOG.
82 websites met inclusion criteria. All websites were found to be at a higher reading level than the USDHHS recommended sixth-grade level. Mean readability scores were as follows: FRE, 38.79; FKGL, 11.27; GFS, 12.83; CLI, 17.31; SMOG, 12.12. Intergroup comparison between FKGL, GFS, CLI, and SMOG yielded that CLI was significantly higher. No significant differences in readability were noted between academic and other websites.
The study concluded through its findings that there is a misalignment between the reading level of patients and the readability of pituitary tumor POEMs. This may lead patients to misconceive their diagnoses, management options, and prognosis.