Evaluation of resources to support production of high quality health information for patients and the public. Final report for NHS Research Outputs Programme

Jane Durbin, Christine Urquhart, Alison Yeoman

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned report

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1.0 Executive Summary 1.1 The project required a rapid evaluation of resources aimed at supporting the production of high quality health information for patients and the public. The resources were: • The Toolkit for producing patient information, Department of Health • Handbook in preparation by the Centre for Health Information Quality (CHIQ) • Guidance produced by the King’s Fund (new edition, just published, of the PoPPi guide) • Website ‘Hi Quality’ produced and maintained by CHIQ 1.2 The resources provided comprise a comprehensive, and to some extent complementary set of resources. Respondents mentioned some other resources used (e.g. The Plain English Campaign) but there was no obvious gap. Concerns of some respondents for more advice on project management, and dealing with ethnic minority groups, are covered in the PoPPi guide, as is advice on obtaining financial support, another concern for some. In future, there may need to be more specific advice on communication of risk, although this is covered in the PoPPi guide. Agencies such as the National Patient Safety Agency may provide further guidance in this area. 1.3 The newer resources (DoH Toolkit, CHIQ guidance and the new edition of the PoPPi) provide a complementary set of resources. The PoPPi guide is very informative, and seems best suited to meet the needs of PALS and patient information centre producers. It refers to the DoH Toolkit and provides more justification and more advice in some important areas. The DoH Toolkit is broad-ranging, and provides a good baseline. The CHIQ guidelines provide good illustrations of good and bad practice in writing. 1.4 PALS managers, and others in charge of producing patient information in Trusts are a very diverse group. Many of our respondents were very committed to their role. Their training and support needs are difficult to categorise, and the term ‘workplace learning’ would probably fit this group very well. Many turn to available in-house training before approaching external training providers. The website ‘Hi-Quality’ does provide classified lists of training providers and courses (as well as some more online resources) and this provides another useful resource, provided PALS managers are aware of this resource. Some rating of the suitability of the courses listed for different types of staff might enhance the value of this resource. 1.5 The evidence from the rapid evaluation suggests that the DoH Toolkit provides a good baseline for most PALS services and patient information producers. Most services could develop their own guidelines and checklists based on the Toolkit. This adaptation may not appear cost-effective, but their own badge on guidelines often provides the necessary local ownership (as well as the ‘corporate communications’ image) to engage clinicians. A revised Toolkit could point to the other resources, to supplement advice and guidance in areas of project management, supplementary training (formal courses and informal, workplace learning), and examples of good (and bad) practice. Advice provided by the resources was rarely contradictory, and the minor differences, for example, in font/typeface recommendations should be tolerable within the NHS Identity ethos.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherPrifysgol Aberystwyth | Aberystwyth University
Publication statusPublished - 2003


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