Literacy levels required to complete routinely used patient-reported outcome measures in rheumatology

Rheumatology (Oxford). 2013 Mar;52(3):460-4. doi: 10.1093/rheumatology/kes296. Epub 2012 Oct 31.


Objective: To assess the reading levels required to complete patient-reported outcome measures (PROs) commonly used in rheumatology clinical and research settings.

Methods: Ten PROs written in English were evaluated. Four reviewers critiqued each measure blindly using two standardized readability indexes and a final readability score for each PRO was agreed.

Results: Only six of the PROs met the recommended reading level for health education literature.

Conclusion: Many people completing PROs will not be able to understand what they are answering and will be unable to give an accurate perspective on their condition.

MeSH terms

  • Educational Status
  • Humans
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care / standards*
  • Reading*
  • Rheumatology / methods*
  • Self Report