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The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s13023-017-0608-2) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Patients with rare diseases face health disparities and are often challenged to find accurate information about their condition. We aimed to use the best available evidence and community partnerships to produce patient education materials for congenital hypogonadotropic hypogonadism (CHH) and the olfacto-genital (Kallmann) syndrome (i.e., CHH and defective sense of smell), and to evaluate end-user acceptability. Expert clinicians, researchers and patients co-created the materials in a multi-step process. Six validated algorithms were used to assess reading level of the final product. Comprehensibility and actionability were measured using the Patient Education Materials Assessment Tool via web-based data collection. Descriptive statistics were employed to summarize data and thematic analysis for analyzing open-ended responses. Subsequently, translation and cultural adaption were conducted by clinicians and patients who are native speakers.
Co-created patient education materials reached the target 6th grade reading level according to 2/6 (33%) algorithms (range: grade 5.9–9.7). The online survey received 164 hits in 2 months and 63/159 (40%) of eligible patients completed the evaluation. Patients ranged in age from 18 to 66 years (median 36, mean 39 ± 11) and 52/63 (83%), had adequate health literacy. Patients scored understandability at 94.2% and actionability at 90.5%. The patient education materials were culturally adapted and translated into 20 languages (available in Additional file 1).
Partnering with patients enabled us to create patient education materials that met patient- identified needs as evidenced by high end-user acceptability, understandability and actionability. The web-based evaluation was effective for reaching dispersed rare disease patients. Combining dissemination via traditional healthcare professional platforms as well as patient-centric sites can facilitate broad uptake of culturally adapted translations. This process may serve as a roadmap for creating patient education materials for other rare diseases.