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. 2010 Jun;7(2):101-6.

Readability of Standard Appointment Letters

Free PMC article

Readability of Standard Appointment Letters

Daniel M Bennett et al. Ment Health Fam Med. .
Free PMC article


Introduction and aims The first contact a clinical service has with a patient is often an appointment letter and thus it is important that this letter is written in a way which is accessible. One concern is to write in language which is easily able to be read by the majority of recipients. A simple initial way to assess this is by using measures of readability of text.Methods We applied measures to examine the readability of appointment and administrative letters sent to young people by clinicians in the Young People's Department at the Royal Cornhill Hospital in Aberdeen.Results Many letters were unlikely to be understood by our youngest patients. We revised the letters to meet an agreed standard of readability, and agreed their routine use within the team. All letters were significantly improved on standard measures of readability and were preferred by patients.Conclusions The methods used are feasible, easily available and may be helpful to clinicians working in other specialties to improve the level of readability of written communication. This will help patients and families in their first contact with any clinical service.

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