The effects of two health information texts on patient recognition memory: A randomized controlled trial

Erin Freed, Debra Long, Tonantzin Rodriguez, Peter Franks, Richard L Kravitz, Anthony F Jerant

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Scopus citations


Objective: To compare the effects of two health information texts on patient recognition memory, a key aspect of comprehension. Methods: Randomized controlled trial (N = 60), comparing the effects of experimental and control colorectal cancer (CRC) screening texts on recognition memory, measured using a statement recognition test, accounting for response bias (score range -0.91 to 5.34). The experimental text had a lower Flesch-Kincaid reading grade level (7.4 versus 9.6), was more focused on addressing screening barriers, and employed more comparative tables than the control text. Results: Recognition memory was higher in the experimental group (2.54 versus 1.09, t = -3.63, P = 0.001), including after adjustment for age, education, and health literacy (β = 0.42, 95% CI: 0.17, 0.68, P = 0.001), and in analyses limited to persons with college degrees (β = 0.52, 95% CI: 0.18, 0.86, P = 0.004) or no self-reported health literacy problems (β = 0.39, 95% CI: 0.07, 0.71, P = 0.02). Conclusion: An experimental CRC screening text improved recognition memory, including among patients with high education and self-assessed health literacy. Practice implications: CRC screening texts comparable to our experimental text may be warranted for all screening-eligible patients, if such texts improve screening uptake.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)260-265
Number of pages6
JournalPatient Education and Counseling
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 2013



  • Colorectal neoplasms
  • Early detection of cancer
  • Educational status
  • Health literacy
  • Mass screening
  • Mental recall
  • Patient education as topic
  • Patient education handout
  • Randomized controlled trial
  • Reading

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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