How We Create App Content
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Who creates app content?
Each of our apps has a dedicated project and editorial team. The teams include people with lived experience, health and topic experts, and representatives of our trusted development partners.
We ask people involved in creating content about any conflicts of interest.
The Lead Editor and Clinical Safety Officer is Dr Knut Schroeder (firstname.lastname@example.org).
What are our editorial aims?
We do our best to ensure that our apps are:
This means that content is based on the best available scientific knowledge, where this is available.
All our apps are checked and approved by sufficiently qualified and experienced health professionals, and specialist topic experts.
Which quality principles do we follow?
We, Expert Self Care, are certified by the Patient Information Forum 'PIF Tick', the UK's only national quality mark for health information. This means we create content according to accepted quality principles, including:
- Process - we create information using a consistent and documented process
- Training - we train and support people to produce high-quality information.
- Need - our information meets an identified consumer need.
- Evidence - we base information on reliable, up-to-date evidence
- User involvement - we involve patients and public contributors in the development of health information
- Clear language - we write information in plain English
- Ease of use - we create apps that are easy to use and navigate.
- Feedback - we enable and encourage users to give feedback on the information
- Promotion - we promote information to make sure it reaches those who need it
- Impact - we measure the impact of information
What are our writing objectives?
When creating content, we aim to achieve the following:
- Accuracy: We ensure that information is based on the best available evidence, accurate, balanced and transparent. We make it clear where content draws on opinion or incomplete information.
- Impartiality: We promise to be objective and impartial when presenting information, and clearly state where significant views differ, or where 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.
We are funded through customisation licenses for our apps and by taking commissions for 'own-brand' apps for external organisations. We will always be transparent about any external funding or sponsorship and declare conflicts of interest.
What are our editorial standards?
We are 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, if necessary, consult with independent external advisers on 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 and Clinical Safety Officer (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.
How do we develop content?
We develop our content in repeated (iterative) 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, new content is drafted and edited by a senior member of our editorial team. Using an internal style guide for reference an iterative approach for the development, the text undergoes review by the wider project team and external advisers who check for accuracy, balance, accessibility, tone, relevance and appropriateness.
- Sign-off: Before apps are released, they undergo clinical and editorial sign-off by senior members of the internal and external editorial teams, supplemented by further review and sign-off by outside experts as appropriate.
- Final check: At every stage of the process and prior to publication we check 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 the next planned review.
- Content in development: When testing information with patients and the people the app is for, we make it clear that 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.
How do we invite feedback?
We invite and 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 deal with these at the senior editorial team level, using an internal complaints procedure.
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 confidential information).
Find out more
For comments and feedback on how we develop content, and for further details, please get in touch.
Page last reviewed and updated on 15 October 2021
Next review due: 12 August 2022