The Patient Information Forum (PIF) is to pilot a new quality mark to help people identify trustworthy, high-quality health information, it announced today.

Anthony NolanBreast Cancer Care and Breast Cancer NowBupa UKCancer Research UKMindThe Royal College of Anaesthetists and The Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust are some of the organisations taking part in the pilot, which will start in September.  The Patients Association is supporting PIF with this important work.

We are grateful to Bupa UK, who are providing funding to allow the pilot project to go ahead.

“PIF’s quality mark will allow the public to recognise high-quality, reliable health information.” said PIF’s Chair, Sue Farrington.

“The scheme will endorse the expertise of our members in the NHS, health charities and the private sector. It will reward the commitment they make to producing trustworthy information the public can use to make informed decisions about their health.

PIF is very grateful for the funding provided by Bupa UK and to the cross-sector organisations that have agreed to be pilot sites.”

In August 2018, NHS England announced The Information Standard kite mark, membership and assessment scheme was to cease.

PIF consulted widely with its members and there was overwhelming support for an easily recognisable kitemark to help people recognise information that is evidence-based, accurate and up to date.

A steering committee of PIF member organisations has helped draft the criteria that information producers must meet to achieve the quality mark. The criteria will endorse the quality standards identified by NHS England and place a greater emphasis on meeting the health literacy needs of the population. The pilot will test the practicality of the draft criteria and the validation process.

Rachel Power – Chief Executive, The Patients Association said:
“We’re delighted to be supporting PIF in the development of a new quality mark that will help people recognise reliable and accurate information online.

We know that many people access information about health and social care online, but that much of it is misleading and it can be difficult to separate out the facts.

There’s no doubt that a new kitemark indicating that information is trustworthy will help people searching for content online, and we’re looking forward to supporting PIF in this important work.”

Tom Bishop – Senior Patient Services and Information Manager, Anthony Nolan said:
“Giving people incorrect health information can be as dangerous as prescribing the wrong drugs. We welcome PIF’s Quality Mark pilot project to reassure the public that the health information they are reading is accurate and reliable, based on thorough research and developed with significant input from its target audience.”

Dr Emma Pennery, Clinical Director at Breast Cancer Care and Breast Cancer Now, said:
“Expert, trustworthy and accessible information is vital to help breast cancer patients understand their diagnosis and make informed decisions about their treatment and care. We also know that providing clear, reliable information is crucial in supporting more women to take steps to lower their risk of the disease and check their breasts regularly for any unusual changes to help detect any cancers as soon as possible.”

Nick Ridgman – Head of Health Content, Bupa UK said:
We are proud to be supporting PIF in their development of a health information quality mark. We believe they are well placed to set and drive national standards collaboratively and to help people identify trustworthy health information. We are committed to meeting the highest quality standards in the production of our own content and look forward to participating in the pilot scheme for the quality mark.”

Further information

1. The Patient Information Forumis the UK membership organisation and network for people working in health information and support. We are the independent voice of UK health information. Our expert guidance on the production of high-quality health information supports an improved healthcare experience for patients and the public.

2. The pilot will run for six months from September 2019.

3. During the pilot scheme market research with patients and the public will help identify an easily recognisable quality mark for the scheme.

4. ‘42% of working-age adults (aged 16-65 years) in England are unable to understand or make use of everyday health information, rising to 61% when numeracy skills are also required for comprehension.’ Local action on health inequalities: Improving health literacy to reduce health inequalities

5.  ‘58% of people find it difficult to access trustworthy information and only 36% feel they have enough information to feel confident in discussing decisions about treatment with their doctor.’Is knowledge power?

6. About the pilot organisations
PIF approached a range of nationally respected organisations to pilot the Quality Mark scheme – all make a public commitment to provide trustworthy health information.

Anthony Nolan is dedicated to saving the lives of people with blood cancer.

Breast Cancer Care and Breast Cancer Now have merged to form the UK’s first comprehensive Breast Cancer Charity.

Bupa UK is one of the UK’s leading healthcare specialists and providers of patient information.

Cancer Research UK is the world’s largest charity dedicated to saving lives through research.

Mind provide advice and support to empower anyone experiencing a mental health problem.

The Patients Association is an independent patient charity campaigning for improvements in health and social care for patients.

The Royal College of Anaesthetists is the professional body for Anaesthetists, the largest hospital specialty in the NHS.

The Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust provides healthcare for the residents of Bournemouth, Christchurch, East Dorset and part of the New Forest with a total population of 550,000.

7. The hashtag for this project is #PIFQualityMark