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Health information

The aim of easily understandable information on diseases, as well as examination and treatment methods, is to facilitate decisions on individual health and treatment issues for the general public. The production of such health information is a further legal duty of IQWiG. The health information is produced on the basis of a commission from the Federal Joint Committee (G-BA) or the Federal Ministry of Health (BMG) or as accompanying information to a benefit assessment. IQWiG also addresses topics on its own initiative.

The health information products differ in scope, objective, and therefore in some aspects of production:

  • Articles are comprehensive texts on a relevant health topic.
  • Research summaries summarize the results of systematic reviews, HTA reports or large studies.
  • Fact sheets summarize the most important information on a disease or health topic, or they inform about certain aspects of a topic, for example drug treatment or diagnostic procedures.
  • These core products are supplemented by interviews and interactive elements.

Production of the core products (simplified):

  • Selection of topic: A health information product can be initiated by a commission from the G-BA or the BMG, a scientific evaluation by IQWiG, or a topic chosen by IQWiG itself.
  • Formation of a project group: The project group formulates the scientific research question and the outcomes for the project.
  • Information retrieval and scientific evaluation: Based on the criteria established, information is retrieved and its reliability evaluated.
  • Text production and external review: The first text drafts on a topic are sent to at least one external reviewer. Research summaries are submitted to the author of the scientific publication the text is based on. Only research summaries based on IQWiG reports, which are usually reviewed internally, are exempt.
  • Second text draft: Based on the review, a second text draft is produced and undergoes an internal review.
  • Submission of comments: The contracting agency and the expert community - stakeholders, medical societies and patient representatives – then have the opportunity to submit comments on the texts within four weeks. The comments and results of a user test conducted simultaneously are considered in the final editing of the texts before their publication.
  • Publication: The final texts agreed upon are published on the website www.informedhealthonline.org.

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