Patient education and counseling

ABOP, the automatic patient information leaflet optimizer: evaluation of a tool in development.

PMID 21621946


We developed a semi-automated leaflet optimizer (ABOP) to improve the readability of Dutch patient information leaflets (PILs). Our aim was to assess whether or not revisions made with ABOP have an effect on traceability and comprehension of PIL information. Two leaflets (one for oxazepam and one for tetracycline) were revised with the ABOP tool and both the original versions and ABOP versions were tested for readability, according to the EC guideline. The ABOP version for oxazepam (p<.0001) scored significantly better than its original counterpart in readability tests. Although the results showed that the ABOP version of the tetracycline antibiotic outperformed the original version the difference in scores was not statistically significant. Terminology improvements had the greatest effect on information retrieval and comprehension. Improvements to instructions and warnings did not affect retrieval and comprehension scores. Overall improvements did not ensure full compliance with EC requirements, but results are not far off. This study shows that even though ABOP does not solve all text quality issues, it does largely prepare a PIL for readability testing. Using ABOP as a revision tool for PILs can optimize PIL quality and hence reduce readability testing time and costs.