A comparative analysis of the lay-friendliness of Danish EU patient information leaflets from 2000 to 2012

Authors

  • Inger Askehave University of Aalborg
  • Karen Korning Zethsen School of Business and Social Sciences, University of Aarhus

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.1558/cam.v11i3.20700

Keywords:

Patient-centeredness, written health communication, patient information leaflets, lay-friendliness, mandatory genre

Abstract

Since becoming mandatory in the EU in 1992, the patient information leaflet (PIL) has been the subject of an on-going discussion regarding its ability to provide easily understandable information. This study examines whether the lay-friendliness of Danish PILs has improved from 2000 to 2012 according to the Danish consumers. A reproduction of a questionnaire study from 2000 was carried out. The responses of the 2012 survey were compared to those of the 2000 survey and the analysis showed that Danes are less inclined to read the PIL in 2012 compared to 2000 and that the general interest in PILs has decreased. The number of respondents who deem the PIL easy to read has gone down. According to Danish consumers, the lay-friendliness of PILs has not improved from 2000 to 2012 and a very likely explanation could be that the PIL as a genre has become far too regulated and complex to live up to its original intentions. On the basis of the empirical results the article furthermore offers suggestions for practice changes.

Author Biographies

Inger Askehave, University of Aalborg

Inger Askehave is Professor in Professional Communication at Aalborg University, Denmark. her primary research interests include genre and discourse analysis, expert–lay communication, organizational communication and patient information leaflets. She has published on these topics in journals such as Applied Linguistics, Text & Talk, Perspectives, Document Design, Discourse Studies, Discourse & Society, Journal of Business Communication, etc.

Karen Korning Zethsen, School of Business and Social Sciences, University of Aarhus

Karen Korning Zethsen is Professor and head of the research group for translation and Interpreting at the Aarhus School of Business, University of Aarhus (Denmark). her primary research interests include translation studies, health communication, expert–lay communication and lexical semantics. She has published numerous articles within her fields of interest in journals such as Target, The Translator, TTR, Meta, Document Design, Text & Talk, Journal of Applied Linguistics and Professional Practice and the Journal of Pragmatics.

Published

2014-04-27

How to Cite

Askehave, I., & Korning Zethsen, K. (2014). A comparative analysis of the lay-friendliness of Danish EU patient information leaflets from 2000 to 2012. Communication and Medicine, 11(3), 209–222. https://doi.org/10.1558/cam.v11i3.20700

Issue

Section

Articles