How we ensure high-quality content
Information about health issues is among the most commonly searched content on the internet. However, many users struggle to determine which health information is reliable, independent, and scientifically tested. This means that there is a high risk of being guided by false information.
In view of the above, it is all the more important to transparently offer information, the content quality of which is continually assured. We, the operators and editors of gesund.bund.de are committed to providing scientifically assured health information of consistently high quality.
To live up to this commitment, we observe fixed quality criteria based on “Good practice in health information” and the findings of the latest research.
Our most important foundation: the findings of evidence-based medicine (EBM)
The “Conditions” area on gesund.bund.de exclusively provides information that is based on the findings of evidence-based medicine (EBM). “Evidence-based” means “substantiated”. The basis for this is therefore the latest medical research. When creating and updating articles, we solely use scientifically recognized sources. A selection of the underlying sources can always be found at the end of each article.
Our compass: quality criteria based on “Good Practice in Health Information”
To offer consistently high article quality, the gesund.bund.de editorial team and its partners are guided by set quality criteria. These are derived from “Good Practice in Health Information”.
The core points of are as follows:
- The information is based on the latest medicinal knowledge.
- The information is free from commercial or political interests.
- The health information is easy to understand.
- The articles are structured in a user-friendly manner.
- Accessibility is guaranteed.
- Conflicts of interest are taken into account when articles are created.
- The article authors are transparently presented.
- All information is provided in a neutral tone, i.e. is non-judgmental. This means, for example, that no belittling or unsettling formulations are used.
- The understanding of the content is supported by graphical representations (illustrations, images, videos).
Our advantage: cooperation with renowned partners
To ensure that every single article meets our high quality standards, we work with selected institutions.
More information about gesund.bund.de’s partners can be obtained from:
- Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (Institut für Qualität und Wirtschaftlichkeit im Gesundheitswesen – IQWiG)
- The Cancer Information Service of the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ)
- Robert Koch Institute (RKI)
- Independent Patient Advice Service for Germany (UPD)
Clear and simple explanations of the ICD codes are provided by the “Was hab’ ich?” gemeinnützige GmbH on behalf of the Federal Ministry of Health (BMG).
Our editorial process
gesund.bund.de’s role is to support and strengthen its visitors’ health knowledge and competence as comprehensively as possible. As such, even when selecting topics, the portal’s editorial team takes guidance from the general interest in information. This includes current topics like the coronavirus pandemic as well as common conditions (such as certain infectious diseases or allergies).
All content –whether text, images, or videos –is researched, created, and reviewed by the specialist editors in our portal’s editorial team or our partners. This process involves a multi-stage review to ensure that the information and pictorial representations are complete, accurate, and up to date, as well as a check of the sources used. The quality assurance process also focuses on ensuring simple language and good comprehensibility.
All of the articles in the “Conditions” section are subjected to a final content review by experts and professionally confirmed:
- Content created by the partners DKFZ and IQWiG is indicated by the note “In cooperation with …”.
- The other content in the “Conditions” section is reviewed by professional medical associations. The appendix “Reviewed by …” at the end of an article indicates the institution that has reviewed the information.
We also involve recognized institutions in the editorial process for the content of the other topic areas, such as “Healthy living”, “Care”, and “Digital health”, and align ourselves with selected experts.
For more information about our methods and processes, see our im method paper.
In close cooperation with our partners, the scientific institutions, and subject-matter experts, we therefore guarantee continuous quality assurance of all content-related aspects – from topic selection, through publication, to content updates.
The importance of updates: good articles are based on the latest knowledge
Scientifically backed (evidence-based) health information always represents the current state of medical research. And this is something that is constantly evolving. All articles that provide medical information are therefore reviewed (and where necessary amended) at least every three years to ensure that they remain up to date. As evidence of this, all articles are labeled with the date on which they were last updated. This also applies to articles about non-medical topics, which are also regularly updated.
Praise, criticism, and suggestions for improvement
Whether praise or criticism, the portal editorial team evaluates feedback about content and uses it to improve the information provided. A function can therefore be found below every article that enables users to rate the content and leave an anonymous comment. The reviews and comments are not be published. All information is treated confidentially. This feedback helps the editorial team amend the articles if required and make them more user friendly within the scope of quality assurance.
You can also e-mail the editorial team with praise, criticism, and suggestions for improvement at: firstname.lastname@example.org