A low level of patient health literacy represents a major reason for worse prognosis or reduced therapy adherence. Health information booklets are a major tool for improving patient's health literacy. This paper presents a computer-based readability analysis of patient information booklets from the cardiovascular domain. The study relies on 34 English booklets mostly on heart disease, prevention and procedures. It compares five different, well-established readability instruments. On average, readers of the assessed booklets have to visit school at least until the 9th U.S. school grade when applying the Flesch-Kincaid formula. According to the Gunning-Fog metric, readers would have to attend school until the 11th grade. The presented study demonstrates the feasibility of a fully automated text processing tool-chain for patient information booklets. The results reveal that readability metrics should be carefully interpreted and only be interchanged with caution.
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