Program for Readability In Science & Medicine (PRISM)
Program for Readability In Science & Medicine (PRISM) is a Group Health Research Institute initiative to improve the readability of consent forms and other print materials for health care research study participants. PRISM began in 2005 as a short-term, internal training initiative called the “Project to Review and Improve Study Materials.” It has since evolved into a suite of plain language resources tailored for the research community.
Inspired by health literacy concerns in the research environment, PRISM’s goal is to bring readability awareness and plain language training and tools to researchers nationwide. For both compliance and safety reasons, research teams should strive to ensure that all print materials used in communication with study participants are as easy to read as possible. Most Institutional Review Boards (IRBs) recommend or require that study participant materials meet a reading level target of 6th to 8th grade.
PRISM promotes health literacy, plain language, and readability at GHRI by providing editing and training services. We also provide two public-domain resources for the research community and other health care professionals:
The PRISM Readability Toolkit1
A free, 81-page plain language handbook for researchers illustrating why health literacy is important and how to improve the readability of consent forms and other participant materials. Contents include:
- Plain language principles and strategies
- Quick reference guide and editing checklist
- Plain language alternatives to complex terms
- Easy-to-read template language for consent forms and HIPAA authorizations
- Links to helpful readability resources
Download the PRISM Readability Toolkit (PDF, 888 KB).
PRISM Online Training2
An hour-long, Web-based plain language tutorial created for research professionals, including scientists, research staff, Institutional Review Boards (IRBs), or communications staff. It covers health literacy and readability, plain language strategies and examples, and interactive editing examples and exercises. Access the course for free at http://prism.grouphealthresearch.org.
For more information about PRISM resources, please e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
View our video
Learn about plain language for health care from Jessica Ridpath. (3 minutes, YouTube. Also available at ghinnovates.org.)
- The PRISM Readability Toolkit was supported by the National Institutes of Health under Contract Number HHSN26820045216. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health. Additional support was provided by Group Health Research Institute.
- PRISM Online Training was supported by the National Center For Advancing Translational Sciences of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number UL1TR000423. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health. Additional support was provided by Group Health Research Institute.