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Readability and Non-English Language Resources of Heart Transplant Center Websites in the United States

      ABSTRACT

      Objective

      Health literacy is associated with heart failure (HF) care and outcomes. Online resources offer important educational materials for patients seeking access to heart transplantation but tend to be complex and potentially ineffective for non-English speakers and those with low reading levels. The purpose of this study was to evaluate both the readability of patient-level information posted on United States heart transplant center websites and the availability of non-English resources.

      Methods and Results

      We performed a review of patient-facing information on websites of U.S. heart transplant centers identified through the United Network for Organ Sharing in August 2022. Written English text was extracted and assessed for readability by using the Fry Graph Readability score. Websites were additionally evaluated for non-English language text and translator tools. Standard ANOVA analysis was used to compare readability levels across transplant regions. The median Fry readability level to understand a piece of text for all regions was 15, which is equivalent to a college-junior reading level (range: 7–17, 7th grade to postgraduate level). There was no statistical difference in median Fry readability levels among regions (P = 0.16). Of the 139 eligible heart transplant center websites, only 56.1% (78/139) had non-English resources available for patients. Regions 5 (75% [15/20]) and 6 (75% [3/4]) had the highest percentage of non-English resources, and region 2 had the lowest (38% [6/16]).

      Conclusions

      Heart transplant center online resources are inadequate, and many do not provide translations of the English language. Additional work is needed to standardize heart-transplant patient information for a diverse U.S. patient population.

      Key Words

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