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Are we offering patients the right medicines information? A retrospective evaluation of readability and quality in online patient drug information
  1. Laia Robert Sabaté,
  2. Laura Diego
  1. Catalan Drug Information Center, Barcelona, Spain
  1. Correspondence to Dr Laia Robert Sabaté, Catalan Drug Information Center, Barcelona 08017, Spain; lrobert{at}


Objectives The aim of this study was to assess the quality and readability of patient drug information published on a corporate website and written by a multidisciplinary team including pharmacists, doctors, nurses, journalists, experts in healthcare communication, and patients. Documents were user-tested with patients in order to improve and adapt the final product.

Methods Readability was measured using the INFLESZ tool, a software developed from the Flesch formula and adapted to Spanish. DISCERN and EQIP were used for quality appraisal by two independent raters as they have shown to be useful and consistent for assessing information related to treatment and treatment choices.

Results Most of the documents (>67%) had an easy readability level, implying that they would be easily understood by a person with a primary school education level. The DISCERN tool showed higher reliability and concordance than EQIP. The overall DISCERN mean score for the documents was 55.4% for rater 1% and 51% for rater 2, implying very good quality.

Conclusions This retrospective analysis supports the implemented workflow of the multidisciplinary team and the user-testing process and encourages continuation of this systematic development of documents. Although both EQIP and DISCERN are useful and widely used tools, according to our results we would favour DISCERN to evaluate patient drug information.

  • quality in health care
  • readability
  • patients
  • hospital pharmacy education
  • drug information

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