Our editorial policy and practice

We provide trusted, accurate and up-to-date health information to the public and healthcare professionals around the world.

Authored information on patient.info, including health information, professional reference articles, medicine leaflets, videos, clinical tools and editorials, is kept free from commercial interests and pressures.

Our information reflects reliable research evidence, recognised UK and European medical guidelines and best clinical practice. Our editorial uses UK spelling and terminology.

The Information Standard

The Information Standard - certified member

Our health information leaflets are certified to meet The Information Standard; NHS England’s ‘quality mark’ for health and care information. We accept and adhere to its aims to improve the quality of health information provided to the public.

Like all other organisations who have achieved The Information Standard, we undergo rigorous assessment to check that the information we provide is clear, accurate, balanced and up-to-date.

Clinical information

Our health information leaflets are written in clear, easy-to-understand language for the general public and patients. They’re formatted to make it simple for healthcare professionals to print and translate for patients during consultations.

This information is authored and peer reviewed by our team of doctors, covering a comprehensive range of medical conditions which is being frequently expanded.

Multimedia (video and audio) content produced by patient.info follows similar procedures. A live peer review takes place during recording and a second review of the content is conducted at the final edit stage to ensure accuracy.

Content creation process

  1. Check for updates

    The clinical editor watches the major guideline producers such as NICE and SIGN, receives email updates regarding medicines and UK government health policy and monitors the major journals, UK Royal Colleges and European Associations to keep abreast of new clinical developments. These are incorporated into our clinical articles as dated ‘Clinical Editor’s comments’. This allows us to relay important new information and references quickly, without the need for a full review of the whole topic.

  2. Review dates

    If there have been major or multiple changes within a topic, then a full review will be arranged. Otherwise, the health information pages are routinely reviewed every three years and the professional reference pages are reviewed every five years at least.

  3. Peer review and proofread

    The editorial process includes a clinical peer review of all authored content, which considers accuracy (in relation to UK practice), balance, accessibility and tone; proofreading by a designated member of staff for spelling, typographic or grammatical errors, consistency of terminology, and overall presentation; and a final sign-off by the author. In addition, all our clinical information is checked for adherence to house style.

  4. Feedback

    We encourage user feedback on a simple form available from the bottom of every clinical page we publish on our website. All constructive feedback is considered and investigated and, if necessary, the authored content is revised as soon as possible.

Our clinical team also authors our professional reference pages, which are intended for the use of medical professionals. All members of our clinical authoring team must confirm they have no conflicts of interest in that their creation of content is free from all academic and commercial pressures to promote particular research or products.

Medicine information

Our hundreds of medicine leaflets are governed by the same high clinical standards as our health information. Written by a clinical pharmacist and peer reviewed by another, they are updated every three years. Between updates, our pharmacists receive updates from major national and international guidance bodies on any significant changes to medicines.

Each one is reviewed to see if any of our medicine leaflets need updating, and we aim to publish any clinically significant information within two weeks.

Editorial

Our clinical content is accompanied by editorial features and resources aimed at helping our users better understand and manage various conditions.

This strand of content sits outside of the Information Standard process; however we still maintain a strict procedure to ensure that any advice or opinions adhere to our clinical standards.

Many of the authors are the same healthcare professionals who create our clinical content, and we also welcome selected individuals who can offer specialist advice or first-hand experience that would be valuable to our visitors.

All content is reviewed twice by one of our doctors during the production workflow - at first draft stage and at final review.

Community forums

We provide a series of discussion forums for members to connect with each other. These are not monitored by clinical experts; however, we ensure everything posted complies with our site terms and conditions.

A list of keywords is frequently maintained, alerting our moderation team to any posts which may contravene these rules. Triggered posts are subject to review prior to release with a clinical escalation procedure in place for issues that require professional medical input.

We aim to act within 24 hours to remove posts and suspend (or ban) users which don’t meet our guidelines.

Advertising policy

To keep patient.info free for both personal and professional use, our content is accompanied by commercial advertising.

  • Display ad units are operated by selected third party providers. We carefully select specific categories that we believe will display relevant ads; however, if you see any advertising which is at odds with our clinical standards please report this via our feedback form.
  • Some of our content articles and categories are accompanied by sponsorship. All these agreements are purely financial and the companies, charities and organisations we select to work with have no input into the topics covered, the opinions offered, or the clinical advice provided.

An ad-free browsing experience is available in exchange for a monthly subscription.