Submitted by mburda on January 23, 2013 - 2:55pm
Is anyone using software to screen your health information educational materials for literacy levels (excluding Microsoft Word)?
January 24, 2013 - 7:20am
You may want to check out www.healthliteracyinnovations.com. I haven't tried the software but it looks good.
January 24, 2013 - 7:51am
Look at Readability Studio from oleandersolutions.com also. It can test documents in Spanish and in multiple formats other than pdfs.
January 24, 2013 - 1:25pm
First, let me say that Word's readability function has several problems and usually gives a grade level that's about 2-3 grades below trusted, commonly-used formulas and programs. We readability specialists strongly discourage its use.
In addition, no matter what electronic method you use, it's important to prepare your text beforehand to get an accurate score. There are a few key things you need to do. I've created a set of instructions that's available on the website of the hospital system I work in . Feel free to download it from http://hospitals.unm.edu/dei/documents/Checking_Readability_Level.pdf.
Regarding Health Literacy Advisor, it's very fast and accurate. It's also very pricey. We have purchased one license for one user. In my organization, that's me since I'm the health literacy specialist. No one else has access. So if you can't afford it, use the free SMOG website in the instruction sheet above.
When I was working as a health literacy consultant/trainer and developing materials, I used Readability Calculations which is also a very good program.
Hope this is helpful,
Audrey Riffenburgh, M.A., Senior Health Literacy Specialist
Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI), UNM Hospitals, Albuquerque, NM
It is neither just, nor fair, to expect a patient to make appropriate health decisions and safely manage his/her care without first understanding the information needed to do so (Reducing the Risk by Designing a Safer, Shame-Free Health Care Environment. AMA, 2007).
January 24, 2013 - 7:09pm
Hi Michelle and all:
I am with Health Literacy Innovations creator of the Health Literacy Advisor (HLA) software tool referenced above.
The HLA offers nine readability scores in English and six in Spanish. But the HLA is much more than a readability tool. It is a comprehensive health literacy solution.
It offers several other powerful features such as providing thousands of plain language alternatives. Other features include:
It also cleans the document for you (ignoring certain features users need to delete when using electronic tools, and what Audrey is referring in her publication)
It ignores proper nouns, such as the word California, during readability assessment – something no other tool can do
According to the HLA users, among the best things about the HLA vs. other “readability tools” are:
Again do not take my word for it, if you would like to have a free demo, please let me know, I will be glad to send you a free 48-hour trial and give you tricks and tips in using the tool for simplification, bulk or multi-year discounts as well.
January 29, 2013 - 7:56pm
Yes, Aracely is right. HLA is more than a readability software. I love it and use it a lot. I mentioned only the readability function since that was the topic at hand. But yes, the software does all those things in fine style. It's sweet!
Senior Health Literacy Specialist
University of New Mexico Hospitals