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Readability of Online Patient Educational Materials Related to Breast Lesions Requiring Surgery.


Purpose To evaluate readability of websites that are commonly accessed for information on breast lesions requiring surgery. Materials and Methods An internet search using three malignant and eight nonmalignant breast lesions that traditionally require lumpectomy or excisional biopsy as search terms was conducted to identify websites commonly accessed for patient information on breast lesions requiring surgery. Nine websites with information on breast diagnoses were identified based on search engine results for each breast lesion queried. Available patient-directed information was downloaded for each lesion from each website on May 15, 2018. Grade-level readability of downloaded content for each lesion was then determined by using generalized estimating equations, with observations nested within readability metrics from each website. Readability of associated terms breast biopsy, breast cancer, and breast surgery was also evaluated with the same method. Results were compared with American Medical Association (AMA) recommended readability parameters (sixth-grade reading level). All interval estimates were calculated for 95% confidence. Results Average grade level readability score of health information on breast lesions requiring surgery was 11.7, which exceeded the AMA parameters. Information on Wikipedia was written at the highest reading level (grade level readability score, 14.2), while information on the National Institutes of Health website ( ) was written at the lowest reading level (grade level readability score, 9.7). Educational materials on malignant breast lesions (grade level readability score, 12.3) were written at a higher reading level than were those on nonmalignant breast lesions (grade level readability score,11.4). Information on the terms breast biopsy (grade level readability score, 10.9), breast cancer (grade level readability score, 10.6), and breast surgery (grade level readability score, 11.1) were all written above a sixth-grade reading level. Conclusion Readability of current online resources on breast biopsy lesions traditionally requiring surgery may be too complex for the general public to comprehend, leading to misinformation and confusion. © RSNA, 2019 See also the editorial by Haygood in this issue.