Readability of foot and ankle consent forms in Queensland

Readability of foot and ankle consent forms in Queensland
Original Article
Giuseppe Pastore, Philip M. Frazer, Andrew Mclean, Tom P. Walsh, Simon Platt
ANZ Journal of Surgery, 5 October 2020
Abstract
Background
The aim of this study was to conduct a readability analysis on both patient take‐home information and consent forms for common foot and ankle procedures. Our hypothesis was that the objective reading skills required to read and comprehend the documentation currently in use would exceed the recommendations in place by both national and international bodies.
Methods
The current Queensland Health consent forms are divided into specific subsections. The readability of consent form subsections C and G (sections containing detailed information on risks of the procedure and pertaining to informed patient consent specifically) and patient take‐home information (provided as take‐home leaflet from the consent form which is procedure specific) was assessed by an online readability software program using five validated methods calculated by application of the algorithms for (i) Flesch–Kincaid grade level, (ii) the SMOG (Simple Measure of Gobbledygook), (iii) Coleman–Liau index, (iv) automated readability index and the (v) Linsear Wriste formula.
Results
The mean ± standard deviation reading grade level of risk (section C), grade level of patient consent (section G) and grade level for procedure‐specific take‐home patient information were 8.7 ± 0.9, 11.6 ± 1.2 and 7.5 ± 0.2, respectively.
Conclusion
The readability of sections C and G of the Queensland Health consent form exceeds the recommendations by national and international bodies, but the patient take‐home information appears suitable. Consideration should be given to lower the reading grade level of patient consent forms to better reflect the reading grade of the Australian population.

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