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DHO Researchers Featured in Podcast on Readability of Patient-Targeted Information

Drs. Stephen Rosenberg and Randall Kimple

Information on radiation oncology websites is often too complex for patients to understand, according to a study by University of Wisconsin Department of Human Oncology (DHO) researchers.

An analysis of 30 randomly selected academic radiation oncology websites found that the majority of information intended for patients is written at the 13th-grade reading level. Federal guidelines recommend that information intended for patients be written at or below the sixth-grade reading level.

“We were a little surprised by how far above the recommended reading level things were,” said Dr. Stephen Rosenberg, UW radiation oncology resident and the study’s lead author in a recent Practical Radiation Oncology podcast. “We think this is an important study to bring attention to developing information that patients can understand moving forward.”

“It’s not that the information we’re trying to convey can’t be communicated appropriately. It’s just that we haven’t made the effort as a field to do so,” said Dr. Randy Kimple, DHO assistant professor and one of the study’s co-authors.

The study, “Online Patient Information from Radiation Oncology Departments is Too Complex for the General Population,” appears in Practical Radiation Oncology.

For information about other Practical Radiation Oncology podcasts, see