High quality health information can have a huge impact on the ability of patients and the public to stay healthy and manage illnesses effectively, giving them a better quality of life.
These resources are designed to help people make sure they can trust the health information they are reading or viewing.
This simple guide can be distributed to patients and the public to help them find quality and trustworthy sources of health information on the internet, so that they can research health related issues for themselves.
Misinformation and misleading news stories are a common problem when looking for health information, especially during Coronavirus. These resources can help readers to assess the facts behind the headlines:
- BBC Reality Check
- How to spot misleading health news - BBC
- Full Fact: Health
- How to spot fake news- Factcheck
- Sense about Science
For those who want to dig a bit deeper, this guide helps readers without a medical background to review and interpret a published health research paper:
Health literacy is about people having enough knowledge, understanding, skills and confidence to use health information, to be active partners in their care, and to navigate health and social care systems. Various organisations have made their health literacy resources and learning materials available for use by other partners interested in raising awareness of health literacy at The Health Literacy Place.
Health Education England has put together an e-learning programme aimed at the wider public health workforce, particularly in health, social care and the charitable sector. The programme provides an introduction to health literacy, why it is important and the core techniques that can be used to improve health.
Trusted information about the Coronavirus collated by Health Education England NHS Library & Knowledge Services. Information is provided in formats tailored to children and young people, older people, people who prefer information in BSL or Maketon and other accessible formats.
The World Health Organization explains the truth behind myths relating to Covid-19.
Shortly after declaring the outbreak of COVID-19 a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC), WHO’s Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warned of the threat of an “infodemic” – an overabundance of information, some of which can be misleading or even harmful.
Some additional articles about the Covid Infodemic are listed below:
You can find more resources to support people to find health information on the page Health Information for Patients & the Public.
There are a few simple questions people can ask themselves when looking at health information:
- Where did the information come from? Who produced it? Was it the NHS or a trusted charity or health organisation? Is the information relevant to the UK?
- How current is the information? When was it published or last updated? Health information changes over time – make sure it is up to date.
- Is it easy to use and understand?
- Is is based on multiple evidence reviews or case studies? Look for clear references.
- Why has it been produced? Is it to inform or is there an agenda? Is the website profit driven?
It is also a good idea to cross-check information. This means looking to see if it is repeated by more than one reliable source.
One of the easiest ways to get reliable health information is to use trusted sources. There is lots of information available, particularly online, but it can be hard to verify information which has been shared on a social media site.
Below are some sources of trusted health information:
- - nhs.uk
- - Established charities or health organisations
- - patient.info
- - Materials provided by your GP or another healthcare professional
- - NHS Apps Library
- - Your local health library or public library
- - Members of the Patient Information Forum (PIF)
You can also look for quality standards on the information. These include:
- - The PIF TICK (Trusted Information Creator) Kitemark