A multimethods randomized trial found that plain language versions improved adults understanding of health recommendations.

Publication date: Nov 24, 2023

To make informed decisions, the general population should have access to accessible and understandable health recommendations. To compare understanding, accessibility, usability, satisfaction, intention to implement, and preference of adults provided with a digital “Plain Language Recommendation” (PLR) format versus the original “Standard Language Version” (SLV). An allocation-concealed, blinded, controlled superiority trial and a qualitative study to understand participant preferences. An international on-line survey. 488 adults with some English proficiency. 67. 8% of participants identified as female, 62. 3% were from the Americas, 70. 1% identified as white, 32. 2% had a bachelor’s degree as their highest completed education, and 42% said they were very comfortable reading health information. In collaboration with patient partners, advisors, and the Cochrane Consumer Network, we developed a plain language format of guideline recommendations (PLRs) to compare their effectiveness versus the original standard language versions (SLVs) as published in the source guideline. We selected two recommendations about COVID-19 vaccine, similar in their content, to compare our versions, one from the World Health Organization (WHO) and one from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The primary outcome was understanding, measured as the proportion of correct responses to seven comprehension questions. Secondary outcomes were accessibility, usability, satisfaction, preference, and intended behavior, measured on a 1-7 scale. Participants randomized to the PLR group had a higher proportion of correct responses to the understanding questions for the WHO recommendation (mean difference [MD] of 19. 8%, 95% Confidence Interval [CI] 14. 7% to 24. 9%; p

Concepts Keywords
Americas COVID-19
Bachelor health information
English plain language recommendation
Female RCT
Vaccine vaccine recommendations


Type Source Name
disease VO population
disease VO effectiveness
disease VO COVID-19 vaccine
disease VO organization
disease MESH COVID-19
disease VO vaccine

Original Article

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