Patient Preferences For Plain Language Summaries [Survey]

Survey Methodology

In this study, three chronic diseases were selected to represent three different age groups based on the older and younger populations that were affected by each: psoriasis for younger patients, multiple sclerosis for middle-aged patients, and rheumatoid arthritis for older patients.

Figure 2. Demographics of survey respondents across different chronic disease states. Silvagnoli et al.

Survey Results

Across all three disease states, the infographic was the first-choice PLS format for most respondents. The most preferred text-based format was medium-complexity (reading age 14–17 years, US Grade 9–11).

Figure 3. Respondents’ first-choice preference of PLS format for the different disease states. PLS: plain language summary. Figure 3.


When creating a PLS to supplement an original peer-reviewed research article, it is important to consider the preferences of the audience.



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Marie Ennis

Marie Ennis

Healthcare Communications Strategist | Keynote Speaker | HIMSS FUTURE50 Awardee