Study: How should physicians assess EHR readability?

A study in the Journal of Medical Internet Research questioned whether standard readability formulas can appropriately measure patient comprehension of EHR notes.

The researchers — led by Jiaping Zheng at University of Massachusetts in Amherst — assessed the readability of 140 general health information articles from Wikipedia and 242 EHR notes by using standard readability formulas and asking laypeople to report their perception of difficulty.

They found that the standard readability formula scores did not correlate with users' perceptions of difficulty for either type of health information.

"The widely used readability formulas were highly correlated with each other but did not show adequate correlation with readers' perceived difficulty," the researchers concluded. "Therefore, they were not appropriate to assess the readability of EHR notes."

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