Assessing the Readability of Medicine Information Materials: The Case of Tikur Anbessa Specialized Hospital - Mixed Approach

Patient Prefer Adherence. 2021 Mar 22;15:635-644. doi: 10.2147/PPA.S302275. eCollection 2021.


Background: Patients are frequently provided with medicine information materials (MIMs). Rendering medicine information through written material is a reliable method. Readability is an important attribute of written material that can affect the reader's ability to comprehend. Patient's perception can also affect the comprehensibility of written MIMs.

Objective: The objectives of the study were to assess the readability of medicine information in Tikur Anbessa Specialized Hospital (TASH); and assessing patients' perception and understanding of medicine information materials.

Methods: This was a cross-sectional study conducted from September 21, 2019 to November 24, 2020, at TASH. Quantitative and qualitative data collection approaches were used in this research. The readability value of each material was determined in accordance with the Flesch Reading ease scores (FRE) and Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level (FKGL). The tools compute readability based on an average number of syllables per word and an average number of words per sentence. FRE provides scores from 0 to 100; higher scores mean easily comprehensible while FKGL sets grade levels for written texts. A structured interview was administered with questions about how MIMs had been used, and was analyzed qualitatively.

Results: The results of this research showed low readability scores of MIMs found in TASH. Most patients do not get MIMs and are unaware of how to use them. They are interested to receive and read medicines information from pharmacists and physicians. Moreover, most of them preferred information through both verbal and written forms.

Conclusion: The readability levels of selected MIMs obtained from TASH are found to be not compliant with the patients' needs. This might be worsening their health outcomes and resulting in poorer use of healthcare services.

Keywords: Flesch readability formula; Tikur Anbessa Specialized Hospital; information; medicine; readability; reading grade level.