245596 Accuracy and readability of asthma websites

Tuesday, November 1, 2011: 8:30 AM

Mikki Meadows-Oliver, PhD, RN , School of Nursing, Yale University, New Haven, CT
Nancy Banasiak, MSN, APRN , Yale University School of Nursing, New Haven, CT
Background: Asthma is a prevalent chronic illness, affecting 9.9% of children. An essential component of asthma management is education. To enhance or supplement the education received in the healthcare provider's office, patients may use the Internet. The usefulness of asthma information on the Internet depends on its accuracy and patient's ability to read the materials. The purpose of this study was to assess the accuracy and readability of information on asthma websites. Methods: Information from 68 asthma websites was assessed for accuracy using criteria from the National Heart, Blood, and Lung Institute. Those found to have accurate information were assessed for readability and reading ease using theFlesch-Kincaid readability tests. Results: Only 6 of the 68 (8.8%) websites were found to have accurate, comprehensive information regarding asthma. Those 6 websites were assessed for readability and reading ease. The mean Flesch-Kincaid grade level was found to 9.73 with a mean reading ease score of 54.33/120. Conclusions: Research has shown that patient educational materials should be no higher than an 8th grade reading level. These study findings suggest that there are few websites from which accurate information on asthma can be obtained and that the readability scores are elevated. Asthma educational materials on the Internet carry the risk of having inaccurate and incomprehensible materials circulated to patients. Nurses working with patients with asthma need to understand the role of the Internet in disseminating health information and guide patients and their families to accurate, comprehensible, and readable websites.

Learning Areas:
Public health or related nursing

Learning Objectives:
1. List methods to assess the accuracy of health-related information contained on asthma websites. 2. Identify formulas to assess reading grade level and reading ease of asthma related materials on the Internet.

Keywords: Asthma, Internet

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to present because I am a nurse practitioner with over 12 years of experience working with children with asthma and their families. I have also presented several times at national conferences,including APHA.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.