The objective of this study was to evaluate the readability and understandability of 2 commonly used pelvic floor disorder questionnaires, Pelvic Floor Distress Inventory—Short Form 20 (PFDI-20) and Pelvic Floor Impact Questionnaire—Short Form 7 (PFIQ-7), in a low health literacy patient population.
Flesh-Kincaid, SMOG, Fry, and FORCAST readability assessment tools were used to assign US grade levels to each questionnaire (PFDI-20, PFIQ-7). Two health literacy experts used PEMAT and ELF-Q tools to determine understandability, organization, content, and quality of each form. A focus group of women with low health literacy used Stop Light Coding and a facilitator-prompted discussion to further evaluate understandability and critique the forms.
The PFIQ-7 required higher reading ability compared with PFDI-20 (ninth to 11th vs sixth to eighth mean grade level equivalents). Expert and focus group reviews identified concerns regarding purpose, formatting, and word choice in both forms. Focus group participants recommended assistance with questionnaire completion from clinical staff and gave mean overall ratings of 5.4 (0–10/worst to best) for PFDI-20 and 8.0 for PFIQ-7.
Knowledge of potential barriers to understanding and completion may improve utilization of and accuracy of patient responses to PFDI-20 and PFIQ-7 in women with low health literacy.