EAU Patient Information: Amid diverse sources providing facts can be a challenge

Mon, 4 Dec 2017 • Prof. Dr. Thorsten Bach

Most patients have the tendency to search online information about their diseases or surgical procedures. This has resulted in the increase of so-called “unbiased” patient information, which is ironically often provided by interest groups. EAU Patient information (PI) aims to change that by providing patients with impartial and reliable information.

PI continues to render information from the EAU Guidelines into patient-centred language. It is a growing programme of the EAU and the only source of patient information that is evidence-based. PI offers easy-to-read text, animated videos on certain procedures, and translations in 18 languages to guarantee clarity and comprehension.

Research on PI

Understandability is the most important factor of high-quality patient information; a factor evaluated by the team of Dr. Patrick Betschart and Dr. Valentin Zumstein of Kantonsspital St.Gallen on the readability of PI’s web-based patient education material (PEM).

They analysed each topic from the PI website (patients.uroweb.org) in detail using well-established readability tools. In their research paper “Readability assessment of online patient education materials provided by the European Association of Urology1”, they concluded:

“The EAU provides carefully worked out online patient information for 17 urological disorders. Information is available as a basic and a more extensive in-depth version for most of the topics and illustrations and glossaries which contribute to an improved comprehensibility. Compared to similar analyses, EAU-PEM show improved readability. Nevertheless, simplification of readability of certain chapters might be helpful to facilitate better patient understanding.”

Although the authors identified action points to improve readability in some parts of PI, e.g. complex topics such as “neurourological disorders”, they stated that the improved readability of PI information is superior as compared to recent AUA patient information, and evaluated using well-established scoring systems.

The EAU Patient Information will continue to provide patients the best possible insight on their disease and the latest developments in evidence-based treatments.

Reference: Betschart P, et al. Readability assessment of online patient education materials provided by the European Association of Urology. Int Urol Nephrol 2017 Sep 13 p1695.