To provide good awareness of healthcare issues and methods to prevent serious outcomes of mostdiseases, it is necessary to ensure the readability of the provided information by using the “Formatting Checklist for Easy-To-Read Written Materials”. The essay assesses the readability of the brochure “Rhinitis. Tips to Remember” created by the Public Education Committee of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI) in compliance with the formatting checklist requirements. Additionally, the essay includes suggestions for improvement of the general content and text construction of the brochure.
The provided health information piece is presented in the form of a brochure, which is oriented towards rhinitis. According to the brochure, the target audience is adults and healthcare professionals. The key objective of the brochure is providing information that can help patients and physicians determine in which cases a patient may need a consultation or special care by the allergist or immunologist (Public Education Committee of the AAAAI, 2006).
Considering whether the provided brochure meets the formatting checklist requirements, one should assess general content requirements. The brochure does not meet general content requirements because it provides too much information and tries to cover more than one key objective. Besides providing a list of cases when a patient may need a consultation or special care by the allergist, the brochure includes the detailed information about two general types of rhinitis.
The brochure is overloaded with the information that is not necessary for patients. For example, the patient does not need to know that rhinitis is one of the most widespread diseases in the United States affecting more than 50 million people. Another example of unnecessary information for patients is the data that some physicians called the condition with the symptoms caused by strong smells, contamination, and smoke as vasomotor rhinitis (Public Education Committee of the AAAAI, 2006).
Moreover, the brochure does not meet general content requirements because it uses words that are not well known to individuals without medical training. For example, the brochure contains the words such as histamine, antihistamine, leukotriene receptor antagonists, corticosteroid, perennial, mucous membranes, and polyps among others. (Public Education Committee of the AAAAI, 2006).
The brochure does not meet all text construction requirements as well because it often uses the text written above the 6th-grade level. Additionally, the brochure uses more than two-syllable words such as histamine, antihistamine, leukotriene receptor antagonist, corticosteroid, and perennial. In most cases, the author of the brochure uses active voice. However, rarely, the author uses passive voice, for instance, “These problems are caused because the immune system of people with allergic rhinitis...” (Public Education Committee of the AAAAI, 2006, p. 2).
The brochure meets the requirements for short paragraphs because the author does not use long paragraphs. The brochure also follows the requirements regarding tables and graphs in the text because it avoids all tables and graphs.
Regarding fonts and typestyle requirements specified in the formatting checklist, the brochure completely meets all of them. The author uses large font with serifs and does not use more than two or three font styles on a page to ensure consistency. The author uses both uppercase and lowercase text as well.
Additionally, the brochure meets layout requirements of the formatting checklist because the brochure ensures a good amount of empty space on the page. The health material includes headings and subheadings to separate different blocks of text. Furthermore, the brochure meets formatting checklist requirements because the author uses a bulleted list, which is a preferable method to divide the blocks of text and form the paragraphs. In the brochure, the illustration of a nose is used in the proper way, as it conveys easy-to-recognize objects. Moreover, the illustration may be useful and appropriate for parents as an easier way to explain their children suffering from rhinitis what the disease is. Lastly, the brochure meets layout requirements because it does not include any complex anatomical diagrams.
The suggestion on improvement of the current health material implies deleting unnecessary information for patients. For instance, unnecessary sentences are sentences that include the information such as “Rhinitis is one of the most common illnesses in the United States, affecting more than 50 million people” (Public Education Committee of the AAAAI, 2006, p. 2).
Another example of unnecessary information for patients is the data about vasomotor rhinitis. It is also beneficial to delete the following sentence: “During this reaction, the immune system cells release substances such as histamine and leukotrienes...” (Public Education Committee of the AAAAI, 2006, p. 2). The above sentence contains extra information that is not valuable for patients, and it includes specific medical terms. The presence of such medical terms worsens the readability of the material, as the brochure includes words that are not well known to individuals without medical training. Furthermore, I would suggest paraphrasing and explaining of medical terms such as histamine, antihistamine, leukotriene receptor antagonist, corticosteroid, perennial, mucous membranes, and polyps in simple language.
One more option for improving the readability of the present health material is rewriting of the sentences written above the 6th-grade reading level. For example, the following sentence should be rewritten: “…patients have polyps, which are growths on the mucous membranes of the nose that block the air from moving in and out” (Public Education Committee of the AAAAI, 2006, p. 2). The reason is that individuals without medical training cannot easily understand the text . Thus, the original sentence is written at the 17th-grade reading level. It is recommended to rewrite the above sentence at the 6th-grade reading level, namely “…patients have growths inside the surface of their nose. Because of these growths, patients cannot breathe fluently”.
In dealing with assessment of the readability of the brochure, a review from the targeted patients has a crucial value. In such a way, one can make appropriate modifications based on the reader’s response. Therefore, after my friend read the brochure, I asked him the following question: “From this, can you tell me what you are supposed to do?”. My friend told me that he was supposed to gain a consultation of the allergist because he suffered from an allergy, especially when engaged in the outdoor activity. However, my friend does not know which allergens are the sources of his allergy. Thus, my friend is supposed to visit the allergist and determine the allergens with the help of skin tests or blood tests.
After asking the next question “What does this word/phrase mean to you?”, I received an unclear answer testifying that my friend did not have a clear understanding of all words and phrases from the brochure. For example, my friend could not explain what the term “nasal inflammation” meant to him. He replied, “Nasal inflammation is the condition when your nose becomes reddened, but you are not sneezing, and you do not have a stuffy nose”.
Therefore, the modification of the brochure based on the received responses implies describing the symptoms that are related to conditions considered by most healthcare professionals as easily understandable and obvious, for instance, the condition such as nasal inflammation.
In conclusion, the essay suggested improving of the general content in the provided brochure by deleting unnecessary information, paraphrasing, and explaining medical terms possibly unknown to the targeted patients. Additionally, the brochure can be improved in terms of its text construction by rewriting the sentences that are not written at or below the 6th-grade level. Finally, one can make effective modifications in the brochure based on the response received from the readers