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Patient Health Resources

Patient Education Materials Assessment Tool (PEMAT)

The Patient Education Materials Assessment Tool, or PEMAT was created by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) to develop reliable and valid patient materials. AHRQ (2013) defined two categories for evaluation, including a checklist of criteria for each:

                            Understandability: Patient education materials are understandable when consumers of diverse backgrounds and varying levels of health literacy can process and explain key messages.

  1. Content – Is the purpose of the material clear?
  2. Word Choice - Does this source use natural language with limited medical terms?
  3. Use of Numbers - Are there any confusing statistics or formulas?
  4. Organization - Is the material broken into small, digestible bites? If not, are there summaries placed throughout?
  5. Layout & Design - Is there effective use of bullets, arrows, boxes, underlining, etc. for clarity or emphasis? Text is easily readable (digital or print materials). Words are easy to hear and spoken at an understandable pace (audio sources)
  6. Use of Visual Aids – Do illustrations add value and help to better explain topic? Or are visuals distracting?

                            Actionability: Patient education materials are actionable when consumers of diverse backgrounds and varying levels of health literacy can identify what they can do based on the information presented. 

  1. Does the material mention at least one action the patient should take?
  2. Is the action broken down into understandable steps, or is it unclear?
  3. Does the material provide a tangible tool? This could be a chart, a checklist, etc.
  4. If there is a graph, table, or mathematic formula, does the material explain how to use it?

If you are health care provider or medical student and would like to learn more about patient health resources consider taking the following free library course -- Closing Gaps in Care Using Health Information Resources.