We want you to be able to trust all our health information and for it to be:
- clear and
This means that all our content is founded on the best available scientific knowledge, where this is available. It is also written, checked and approved by sufficiently qualified and experienced clinicians.
To make sure the health information we provide is relevant, appropriate and of the highest standard, we always involve people with lived experience and topic experts in our projects.
In the following sections, we explain how we create our information and set out our key editorial principles and standards.
As a company, we're certified by the Patient Information Forum 'PIF Tick', the UK's only national quality mark for health information, which means that we create content according to strict principles, including:
- Process: Information is created using a consistent and documented process.
- Training: Staff are trained and supported to produce high-quality information.
- Need: Information meets an identified consumer need.
- Evidence: Information is based on reliable, up-to-date evidence.
- User involvement: Patients and public contributors are involved in the development of health information.
- Clear language: Information is written in plain English.
- Ease of use: Print and digital information is easy to use and navigate.
- Feedback: Users can give feedback on information.
- Promotion: Information is promoted to make sure it reaches those who need it.
- Impact: The impact of information is measured.
- Accuracy: Based on the best available evidence, our content is accurate, balanced and transparent. We make it clear where content is based on opinion or incomplete information.
- Impartiality: We promise to be objective and impartial when presenting information, clearly stating where significant views differ or there is no clear scientific consensus.
- Accountability: We're accountable for our content and will deal fairly with feedback and criticism. We encourage user feedback and embrace a culture of learning. We are transparent in the way we produce, edit and review information.
- Taste and decency: All our content is suitable for a general audience within a given age range. We do not include anything that people may reasonably find offensive.
- Funding: We are funded through customisation licenses for our apps and by creating 'own-brand' apps for external organisations. We will always be transparent about any external funding or sponsorship and declare any conflicts of interests.
We have a core content development team dedicated to creating accurate, balanced and transparent information.
- Transparency: We ask external team members, contributors and advisers to disclose any relevant financial or other interests that may affect any information produced by us.
- Conflicts of interest: Where conflicts of interest exist, we discuss with the team and our advisory board how to manage these.
- Quality assurance: Our core writers and editors are trained in critical appraisal. Overall responsibility for all our content lies with our Clinical Editor (currently Knut Schroeder).
In addition, we build our apps in line with the 'Evidence standards framework for digital health technologies' published by the National Institue for Health and Care Excellence.
We develop our content in repeated cycles. This process involves several steps.
- Research: We base the information on our apps on peer-reviewed scientific research and on the direct experience of clinicians, topic experts, other health professionals, national charities, patients and other relevant groups of people. Our sources include the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) 'Evidence Search' and 'Clinical Knowledge Summaries' as well as trusted journals and databases.
- Information Production: Once a topic has been researched, it is drafted and edited by a senior member of our editorial team. Using an iterative approach, new content will undergo review by the wider project team and external advisers that check for accuracy, balance, accessibility, tone, relevance and appropriateness.
- Sign-off: Before our apps are released, they undergo clinical and editorial sign-off by a senior members of the internal and external editorial teams, supplemented by further review and sign-off by outside experts, as appropriate and relevant to the subject matter.
- Final check: At every stage of the process and prior to publication we check our content for errors, spelling, grammar, adherence to our style guide and overall presentation.
- Review: We review the content on our apps at least every 2 years and clearly display the dates of the last check and for the next planned review.
- Content in development: When we test our information with patients and members of the target groups, we make clear to test users that this content is under development and not the final product.
While we will always try to adhere to our editorial standards, the editorial process does not cover opinion pieces and personal blog posts published on our website.
We welcome comments and feedback on all our content.
- Feedback and comments: Our apps have a feedback page or button linking to an anonymous feedback questionnaire.
- Contact: We also encourage feedback by email and other means and provide contact details in our apps.
- Complaints: We take complaints seriously and will deal with these at the senior editorial team level.
We manage and address any feedback that we receive in line with our feedback protocol, which means that we:
- invite feedback at every opportunity
- offer various routes to giving feedback (both in-person and anonymous)
- log feedback
- decide on which action to take (which might include wider team review and consultation with experts)
- document any actions taken
We audit our feedback logs at least once every 12 months and can make them available on request (excluding any confidential information).
For comments and feedback on our content policy, and for further details, please email [email protected].
Page last reviewed: 20 October 2019
Next review due: 20 October 2021