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Evidence-based health information

A trustworthy decision-making tool for employees and patients

Patients want to know more and more about diseases and to be involved in medical decisions. Evidence-based health information is regarded here as a reliable source of information - including when its about work and health.

Evidence-based health information contains information on the course and effects of diseases, measures for prevention and health promotion, early detection, diagnosis and treatment, as well as rehabilitation, follow-up care, nursing or disease management.

This information is not interest-based and presents the current medical knowledge reliably and without bias. Though the authors and publishers of health information must make their processes transparent and substantiate the underlying methods and processes.

The German Network for Evidence-based Medicine (Deutsche Netzwerk Evidenzbasierte Medizin e.V., DNEbM) has drawn up a position paper "Gute Praxis Gesundheitsinformation" („Good practice for health information“) that describes requirements for the quality of health information.

Requirements for evidence-based health information

Following the "Good practice for health information", evidence-based health information should satisfy the following criteria:

  • systematic literature research based on the research question relevant for the target group,
  • selection of evidence that is suitable for answering the research question,
  • comprehensive representation of the findings relevant for the target group (for example, mortality, complaints and complications, and health-based quality of life),
  • suitable content and linguistic presentation of uncertainties,
  • without directive recommendations or clear separation between the representation of events and the derivation of recommendations,
  • suitable and understandable communication of figures, indications of risks and probabilities,
  • transparent presentation of the information on the authors and publishers of the health information and their financing.

In addition, the German Network for Evidence-based Medicine (Deutsches Netzwerk Evidenzbasierte Medizin e.V, DNEbM), in cooperation with Hamburg University, has prepared a guideline for preparing evidence-based health information. The guideline addresses the authors of health information and aims to improve the quality of health informations.

Evidence-based health information in the workplace

Health plays an important role in the workplace as well and many employees have a need for information on their job-related health. This may concern the question, for example, whether taking part in a voluntary prevention course in the company is practical. Or they may want to obtain information on statutorily prescribed safety goals.

To support authors of health information relevant to the workplace, the Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health makes a manual available in which preparing evidence-based health information for employees is described.