Informed Health Online: How our information is produced
1. Expanding knowledge: The starting point
Our work starts with examining one fundamental question: What do consumers and patients want to know about diseases and other health issues? The foundation of our work is tested and proven health care – what is called evidence-based medicine (EBM) or health care. This is health care that does not rely on personal views and beliefs, but is based on objective scientific evidence.
Medical knowledge is developing constantly. In health care, new therapies are constantly being developed. Hundreds of thousands of patients take part in clinical trials each year. The growth of medical knowledge has become so accelerated that a single person can no longer keep up. Because of this, researchers have already developed a solution to how medical knowledge can be synthesized and made useful: so-called systematic reviews. They are one of the most important instruments of evidence-based health care.
On the Informed Health Online website we would like to make the latest medical knowledge available to everyone. So we have developed a system to help us keep pace with the growing amounts of research knowledge – we call it “evidence scanning”. This is a routine systematic search for current reviews in the most important medical databases. It helps us to remain up-to-date, so that we can react to new and meaningful research results quickly. At the same time, we also stay informed about drug safety warnings issued by American and European authorities.
In our work we focus on the needs of consumers. For example, we evaluate topic suggestions that we receive from our readers and look for evidence that best covers the general population’s information needs. Sometimes we even conduct surveys ourselves. We also speak with self-help groups, patient counseling centers and patient representatives, to find out which topics are especially important to people who are directly affected.
We can also be commissioned by the German Federal Joint Committee (G-BA) or the Federal Ministry of Health (BMG) to create patient information about a particular disease or condition. The G-BA is the highest decision-making body of the German healthcare system, including the health insurance funds, hospitals, community-based doctors, dentists and psychotherapists. We also produce easily understandable summaries of the scientific reports issued by IQWiG (Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care), the national institute that publishes this website.
You can find more detailed information about our legislative mandate here.
- May 03rd 2012 13:19
- May 05th 2010 08:44
- Expanding knowledge: The starting point
- Evidence: The basis of our information
- Systematic search
- Evaluation of evidence
- Text production
- Quality assurance
- Involvement of stakeholders
- Literature on our methods