Information in diabetes care: is there a need to dumb down even more?


: Dr David Kerr, Bournemouth Diabetes and Endocrine Centre, Royal Bournemouth Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Castle Lane East, Bournemouth BH7 7DW, UK. E-mail:


Aim  To assess readability of information provided for patients with Type 2 diabetes on drug treatment for their condition.

Methods  A random sample of patient information on drug treatments published on the website of the main UK Diabetes charity was assessed for readability using two accepted measures and compared with articles from three national newspapers published the same day, in the setting of a hospital-based diabetes centre. The main outcome measures were Flesch-Reading Ease and Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level scores available within Microsoft Office 2000.

Results  Information provided for patients and medically related articles from two of three newspapers had suboptimal readability, requiring literacy skills well above the UK average.

Conclusions  Information for patients with diabetes may be of limited value for 20% of the UK adult population who have problems with literacy.