Cancer Research UK’s patient information website, CancerHelp UK, and its health information leaflets have been awarded the Department of Health Information Standard.
The new certification scheme entitles health and social care information producers that meet certain criteria to place a quality mark on their information materials, making them easily recognisable as a reliable and trustworthy source.
Rather than assessing individual pieces of information, the Information Standard looks at the processes by which an organisation develops its information.
For instance, evaluators look at the systems an organisation has in place to ensure information materials are consistent with the latest clinical evidence, as well as the ways in which they involve information users.
The Information Standard has now been launched following a testing period and should be beneficial for patients who are seeking information on health and social care, helping them to make informed decisions for themselves and other family members.
Demand for such a scheme is high, as recent research by the Department of Health revealed that 88 per cent of people thought some form of certification would be a good idea.
Of those polled, 77 per cent had looked for health or social care information in the previous 12 months and 75 per cent had found it hard to work out whether that information was trustworthy.
The survey also revealed that 78 per cent of people would prefer to use information from organisations which had been certified.
Liz Woolf, head of CancerHelp UK, said: “We’re delighted to have been awarded this accreditation. It reassures people that we take every possible care in producing our information and in making sure it stays up to date.
“It’s very important that anyone affected by cancer who needs help and support knows that the information they find online is accurate and reliable.
“Improvements in cancer care and treatment are happening all the time, so keeping an information website up to date is a major commitment, but it’s one we’re happy to make, take very seriously and have pride in.”