A new PIF quality mark for health information launched in May. The quality mark is based on organisations meeting 10 key criteria.

These were developed with PIF’s 1,000-strong membership representing more than 300 cross-sector health organisations.  

They were then tested by major health brands and validated by consumer research. The pilot organisations were:

  • Anthony Nolan
  • Breast Cancer Now
  • Bupa
  • Cancer Research UK
  • Follicular Lymphoma Foundation
  • Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust
  • Macmillan Cancer Support
  • Mind
  • Royal College of Anaesthetists
  • The Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
  • Talk Health
  • Multiple System Atrophy Trust

The pilot scheme was made possible through funding by BUPA.

Going through the process has helped improve the quality of patient information provided in our trust.
Joanne Sims, The Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Quality mark criteria

How does your organisation produce information?

SYSTEMS – The organisation produces health information in a consistent and systematic manner

How are staff trained and supported to produce high-quality information?

TRAINING – Staff involved in the information production process receive ongoing training and support

How do you identify genuine information need?

IDENTIFYING NEED – Resources are produced to meet a genuine need

What evidence are you using to produce high-quality health information?

EVIDENCE – Evidence used is relevant, up to date and from a reputable source

How are users involved in the development of health information?

INVOLVING USERS – Users have been involved in the development of information resources

How do you ensure information is clearly communicated to users?

CONTENT – Resources are written to meet the health literacy needs of the target audience and use appropriate language and tone

Is your information easy to access and use?    

LAYOUT AND DESIGN – Resources are easy to access and navigate

How can users give feedback on your information?

FEEDBACK – There is a clear mechanism for users to feedback

How do people find your information?

DISSEMINATING AND MARKETING – Information resources have been promoted to maximise their reach

Does your information make a difference?

EVALUATION AND IMPACT – The impact of the resource has been measured

Why it matters

Consumer research by PIF found more than 80% of the public would look for a quality mark on health information.

An online survey also asked people to select which of the 10-point criteria mattered to them. The top results were:

  • Information is based on reliable scientific evidence – 88%
  • Information is written in plain English and is clear and easy to understand – 85%
  • Staff are trained and supported to produce high-quality information – 74%
  • Citizens and patients are involved in the development and testing of health information – 70%
We now have an improved and robust method for producing patient information on anaesthesia.
Elena Fabbrani, Royal College of Anaesthetists

Benefits for pilot organisations

Pilot organisations found equal value in mapping their processes against the criteria, the assessment visit itself and the resulting action plan.

  • 100% felt the scheme helped maintain or improve internal processes and procedures
  • 90% made changes to their internal processes as a result of the assessment
  • 100% would recommend the scheme to other organisations
  • 100% described the assessment as informative
  • 90% described the assessment as both robust and supportive