Z Orthop Unfall
DOI: 10.1055/a-1059-9779
Original Article/Originalarbeit
Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart · New York

Systematic Analysis of Readability of Patient Information on Internet Pages from Departments for Trauma Surgery of German University Hospitals

Article in several languages: English | deutsch
Simon Paul
1  Department of Trauma Surgery and Orthopaedics, Medius Hospitals Nürtingen
Marc-Daniel Ahrend
2  Sports Trauma Department, Occupational Accident Casualty Hospital Tübingen
Jan-Christoffer Lüers
3  Department and Outpatient Unit for ENT, Head and Neck Surgery, Cologne University Hospital
Kersten Sven Roth
4  German Seminar, University of Zurich, Switzerland
Peter P. Grimmiger
5  Department of General, Abdominal, and Transplantation Surgery, Mainz University Hospital
Florian Bopp
1  Department of Trauma Surgery and Orthopaedics, Medius Hospitals Nürtingen
Babak Janghorban Esfahani
6  Plastic and Aesthetic Surgery, Group Practice for Plastic Surgery Alamuti/Scholz, Wiesbaden
› Author Affiliations
Further Information

Publication History

Publication Date:
13 January 2020 (online)


Introduction The need-based information transfer in education as well as for the recruitment of patients becomes more and more relevant. Here, the internet has emerged as an increasingly important factor in recent years and therefore information pages on hospital homepages can be very helpful. However, it is known that basic text comprehension skills are lacking among large populations.

Method The aim of the present study was to evaluate the readability of the patient information available on the websites of trauma departments of German university hospitals. For this purpose, a search for information material on 10 different diagnoses was carried out. Out of 360 texts possible, 185 were found and assigned to 2 superordinate thematic areas (emergency vs. elective operations), subjected to a systematic text analysis via software “Text-Lab” and rated using 5 known readability indices (Amstad, G-SMOG, LIX, HIX, WSTF).

Results The indices used for both thematic complexes consistently showed poor readability, so that the texts only seem sufficiently comprehensible to readers with higher education. (Amstad: 21.4 ± 20.8; G-SMOG: 11.6 ± 2.0; WSTF 13.3 ± 2.1; LIX: 60.9 ± 7.6; HIX: 4.1 ± 3.2).

Conclusion For the medical information provided by university hospitals, there is a clear need for improvement in order to make the adequate acquisition of knowledge accessible to a broader spectrum of patients.