A computer-based readability analysis of patient-reported outcome questionnaires related to oral health quality of life

Patient Educ Couns. 2012 Oct;89(1):76-81. doi: 10.1016/j.pec.2012.05.010. Epub 2012 Jun 27.


Objective: The purpose of this study was to examine the readability of published patient-related outcome (PRO) questionnaires completed by persons with oral disease and to compare the readability results to existing data about average reading levels for adults living in the United States.

Methods: A search was conducted via Pubmed and Google Scholar to identify PRO oral health-related questionnaires completed by patients. Reading grade levels were analyzed for 10 oral health-related PRO questionnaires using three readability formulas.

Results: The most significant results were as follows:

Conclusion: Developers of PRO questionnaires should consider readability as another testable construct.

Practice implications: To obtain the most useful information for treatment planning and outcomes assessments, the dental professional should consider the reading level needed to understand a particular PRO questionnaire.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Comprehension*
  • Computers
  • Educational Status
  • Female
  • Health Literacy
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Oral Health*
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Quality of Life*
  • Reading*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Self Report
  • Software
  • Surveys and Questionnaires*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • United States