Evaluating the Readability using SMOG – Health System Example

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"Evaluating the Readability using SMOG" is a wonderful example of a paper on the health system. Parkinson’ s disease is a common, incurable, and progressive chronic neurodegenerative infection that is characterized by non-motor and motor features that require a very complex transfer regime in order to prevent or cure. Like other chronic infections, patients suffering from this condition should be educated in order to enhance their understanding of the recommended health conditions that would be essential in curbing the spread of PD (Barton, 2008). In addition to the essential and basic information provided by the health professionals, patients often sought more information independently from the internet and other secondary sources.

The use of the internet as the main source of healthcare information has increased over time with more than fifty percent of the patients opting for updated information from the internet. It is therefore important for medical experts to evaluate the readability of the materials accessed by the patients. Professionals in the healthcare sector, therefore, developed a device called Simple Measure of Gobbledygook (SMOG) that is used for estimating the durations needed for the patients to fully develop a deeper understanding of the pieces of writing they access (Barton, 2008). SMOG is therefore used to ensure that patients get access to information in the right format that is easily understood and practical in real life.

SMOG is an exacting measure for the degree of readability that enables the patients to known the duration needed to have a well-through understanding of the information accessed from different sources including primary and secondary sources. Depending on the patient’ s level of education, age, community literacy rate, and income, it is established that patients often understand essential information concerning their health status differently, hence the differences in the reading duration (Walsh, & Volsko, 2008).

SMOG, therefore, requires a comprehensive text analysis in order to help in determining the degree of readability of the texts. The stronger the SMOG statistics, the stronger the degree of correlation and validation of studies measured by the SMOG devices. Although the internet is becoming a common source of information for patients, such information gathered from the internet would only be meaningful if the patients can be able to read, understand, and comprehend the information read from such sources.

It is established that most of the consumers targeted PD information websites are written in the standards that are beyond the readability degree of the 12th-grade  students and therefore, cannot comply with the recommended USDHHS 6th grade readability standards (McLaughlin, 2009). The study also established that printed patient information is becoming difficult to read to younger people. Such patient readers therefore take requires more time to read and comprehend as compared to adults who would take a shorter time reading the online information.


Barton, B.R. (2004). Parkinson’s Disease on the internet: An Evaluation of the Readability, Quality, and Technical Content of Patient Information. Mov Disord. 24(Suppl 1):S119–S120.

McLaughlin, G.H. (2009). SMOG grading: A New Readability Formula. J Reading 2009; 12:639–46.

Walsh, T.M, & Volsko, T.A. (2008). Readability Assessment of Internet-Based Consumer Health Information. Respir Care. 53:1310–5.

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