Background: Despite the recent focus on improving the quality of patient information, there is no rigorous method of assessing quality of written patient information that is applicable to all information types and that prescribes the action that is required following evaluation.
Objective: The aims of this project were to develop a practical measure of the presentation quality for all types of written health care information and to provide preliminary validity and reliability of the measure in a paediatric setting.
Methods: The Ensuring Quality Information for Patients (EQIP) tool was developed through a process of item generation, testing for concurrent validity, inter-rater reliability and utility. Patient information managers and health care professionals tested EQIP in three annual audits of health care leaflets produced by a children's hospital.
Results: The final tool comprised 20 items. Kendall's tau B rank correlation between EQIP and DISCERN was 0.56 (P = 0.001). There was strong agreement between intuitive rating and the EQIP score (Kendall's tau B = 0.78, P = 0.009). Internal consistency using Cronbach's alpha was 0.80. There was good agreement between pairs of raters (mean kappa = 0.60; SD = 0.18) with no differences based on types of leaflets. Audits showed significant improvement in the number of leaflets achieving a higher quality EQIP rating over a 3-year period.
Conclusions: EQIP demonstrated good preliminary validity, reliability and utility when used by patient information managers and healthcare professionals for a wide variety of written health care information. EQIP uniquely identifies actions to be taken as a result of the quality assessment. Use of EQIP improved the quality of written health care information in a children's hospital. Wider evaluation of EQIP with written information for other populations and settings is recommended.