A systematic review of patient information leaflets for hypertension

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Journal of Human Hypertension, 2000, 14 (4), pp. 259 - 262
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Objective: To review patient information leaflets on hypertension to determine the quality of information currently available to patients. Design and setting: A standardised systematic rating of patient information leaflets for hypertension in the UK. Main outcome measure: A quality score per leaflet based on a pre-determined rating scale. Using recognised criteria with marks allocated for content, writing style, readability and design. Results: Sixty-one leaflets were received, 42 from the Internet and 19 from other sources. Leaflets could achieve a maximum of 84 points. Scores ranged from 30 to 70 for non-Internet leaflets and 28 and 67 for Internet leaflets. Leaflets produced by Boeringer Ingelheim for the British Hypertension Society and Greenlines Publishing (with a medical education grant from Knoll Ltd) scored highest overall. A detailed analysis of the non-Internet leaflets showed that few leaflets contained the full range of information considered important though most should be readable by the majority of the adult population and are written using appropriate language and typeface. Conclusion: High quality information is available for patients, though some leaflets fall below an adequate standard. Professionals providing advice to patients should have some knowledge of what constitutes good quality information and be critical of the resources they use. Ideally surgeries and clinics should stock a range of the best information available so that patients can chose the leaflets most appropriate to their needs.
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