The Patient Information Forum (PIF) has today (7 June) launched an update to the UK’s only assessed quality mark for print and digital health and care information.

Organisations must undergo a rigorous, independent assessment, proving they meet 10 criteria, to be awarded the PIF TICK.

Today’s update places a greater emphasis on inclusion and reflects the huge evolution in health and care information since the PIF TICK was launched in 2020.

PIF Chair Sue Farrington said: “We are proud to mark 25 years of PIF with an update to the PIF TICK criteria for trusted health information. 

"Consulting with our members to ensure the criteria continue to lead best practice and encourage ongoing improvement is an essential part of our mission. 

"We and our members have adapted during the pandemic to promote access to trusted health information and support to allow patients and the public to make informed decisions about health and care. 

"It is now important that rapid development in practice is captured in the criteria. 

"We are grateful for the work of the independent steering group, of members and non-members, who have provided scrutiny of the update.”

Updated PIF TICK criteria

The PIF TICK criteria for health and care information has been updated in collaboration with an independent steering group made up of representative organisations and external experts. 

The updated criteria are: 

  1. Systems:  Information is created using a consistent and documented process.
  2. Training: Staff receive ongoing training and support.
  3. Need: Resources meet a genuine need.
  4. Evidence: Information is based on reliable, up-to-date evidence which is communicated clearly.
  5. Involving users: Users are involved in the development of information.
  6. Health inequalities: Information is written to meet health and digital literacy, language and accessibility needs of the target audience.
  7. Content and design: Information is clearly communicated, easy to access and navigate.
  8. Feedback: There is a clear process for users to provide feedback.
  9. Disseminating: Information is promoted to maximise reach.
  10. Impact: The impact of information is measured.

PIF TICK quality manager Dan Wills said: “Ensuring health information is produced using the best available evidence and is reviewed regularly remains at the core of PIF TICK. 

"We will be supporting members to help them meet the criteria which have evolved to reflect the changing health information environment.”

Rigorous production standards

Caroline De Brún, Information Scientist, Health Information Literacy Researcher and PIF TICK Steering Group member, said: “The internet has made it so much easier and quicker to share health information widely.  However, there is no guarantee of quality. 

"Assessment schemes like the PIF TICK enable providers of health information to maintain rigorous production standards so the information they produce is accurate, unbiased, and relevant for the audience it is written for. 

"When people see the PIF TICK logo, they can be assured the information they are reading has been written by experts, and reviewed regularly by independent and relevant representatives of the target audience.”

So far, 105 organisations have signed up to the PIF TICK with 70 achieving accreditation to become Trusted Information Creators.

Members range from national charities and NHS Trusts to app developers and rare disease specialists. 

100% would recommend the PIF TICK

A 2022 survey found 100% would recommend the PIF TICK to colleagues in another organisation.

The PIF TICK assessment process is not just robust, it is also supportive.

Emma Rushton, Information & Services Manager at the Multiple System Atrophy Trust and Steering Group Member, said: “It is important the PIF TICK criteria are flexible enough to meet needs of all information producers, including small organisations like the MSA Trust. 

"The update of the criteria has been careful to maintain this objective. 

"At MSA Trust we were worried about capturing the impact of materials. Thinking about this forced us to focus back to the aims of each resource. 

"Making sure we were clear from the start what we wanted to achieve, helped with measuring outcomes. This is something the criteria form is really helpful with.” 

The public can easily access resources from all our Trusted Information Creators via the PIF TICK website.