Patient information leaflets (PILs) play a major role in providing information to patients to encourage participation in their healthcare, particularly management of chronic disease. A study by Joanne Protheroe and colleagues at Keele University shows that less than 25% of PILs in general practice meet recommended reading level guidance and the majority would be too complex for 43% of the English population. Less than 10% of the PILs covered managing illness including chronic disease, such as looking after diabetes; or health promotion, such as healthy diet and lifestyle.
The researchers suggest that “The production of information should be meet appropriate and clearly defined standards across the NHS, and, given its potential impact on patient health, perhaps should be considered as rigorously as the production of a new medication or procedure?”
Patient information materials in general practices and promotion of health literacy: an observational study of their effectiveness, Joanne Protheroe, Emee Vida Estacio and Sirandou Saidy-Khan, British Journal of General Practice, DOI: 10.3399/bjgp15X684013, published 2 March 2015.