Health Literacy Evaluation of Opioid Patient Education Materials for Orthopaedic Surgery

J Surg Orthop Adv. 2019 Fall;28(3):232-236.


Increased opioid use in the United States has resulted in greater incidence of misuse. Orthopaedic patients are more likely to be prescribed opioids for pain. Low health literacy is related to opioid misuse; therefore, orthopaedic patient education tools on use of opioids must be easy to read, understand, and use for patients of all skill levels to be effective. This project aimed to review a broad array of opioid patient education tools and evaluate them from a health literacy perspective. Content evaluation revealed that not all tools expressed the same essential messaging. The mean readability score of the tools assessed was 9.5 grade; higher than the national and recommended 8th-grade reading level. Therefore, many opioid patient education tools may be difficult for patients to read and understand. Improvements in readability and other health literacy best practices are recommended to improve reading, comprehension, and use of opioid patient education tools. (Journal of Surgical Orthopaedic Advances 28(3):232-236, 2019).

MeSH terms

  • Analgesics, Opioid*
  • Comprehension
  • Health Literacy*
  • Humans
  • Internet
  • Orthopedic Procedures*
  • Patient Education as Topic*
  • Reading
  • United States


  • Analgesics, Opioid