Health information for patients and the general public (2010)





In 2008 Germany’s Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG) - an independent scientific body established under the 2004 national health reform legislation - invited the WHO to evaluate the methods it uses for developing patient information, as well as the information’s quality and accuracy.

The report concludes that the methods used by IQWiG provide a valid, high-quality approach that minimizes the risk of bias, and produce relevant, objective and independent health information. The process includes relevant stakeholders, and the inclusion of information gained through interviews with patients and the review of qualitative evidence add a valuable perspective.

The report also concludes that increasingly it has become clear that a publicly funded and scientifically independent body can and should play an important role in providing objective and non-biased information to patients. This information is also a resource for other countries worldwide - translation into further languages would provide real benefits.

The final report contains a series of recommendations on how IQWiG could develop this programme and strengthen its role as a leading producer of patient-centred and evidence-based health information, among others

  • The criteria for selection of topics need to be finalised and published;
  • The internal documentation of methodologies and workflows needs to be expanded and published;
  • Dissemination and outreach strategies need to be intensified, to promote the site both to health professionals as well as to patients;
  • The Institute should undertake methodological work so it can assess the impact of its information, and how patients appreciate non-directive or directive information.