Good quality health information is essential for patient involvement in healthcare. If people cannot obtain, understand and use reliable health information, they may not be able to look after themselves effectively, navigate the health system without difficulty, or make appropriate health choices for their own and their family’s health.
In a survey conducted prior to the launch of the Information Standard in March 2007, 77% of people said they had looked up some form of health or social care information. Three-quarters said it was difficult to work out whether or not the information was trustworthy, and almost nine out 10 felt some type of quality scheme would be a good idea to help them make these judgments.
The Information Standard was introduced to meet this requirement. Any organisation that produces health and social care information can apply to be certified. Those organisations that meet the stringent requirements become members of the information standard scheme, and can place the quality mark on the information materials in the scope of their application. This will mean that people searching for health and social care information can easily identify the organisation as one that is working to the highest standards to produce good quality health information, and that those pieces of information bearing the quality mark have had the processes checked and can be assured that they are from a reliable, trustworthy source. The Information Standard will help people to:
- know what information they can trust
- make effective decisions for themselves and their families
The ambition is that as public demand for good, reliable information grows, more organisations will join the scheme. As a result, information quality will improve, professionals will know what information to give to patients and service users, and the public will be more reassured.