Links policy

About links to external sites from PatientView

Information links are selected and reviewed by a panel of patients and a multiprofessional group of staff. The information is selected by the group, usually little or none of it has been written specially. PatientView shows information in several categories:

  • Information linked to diagnostic code – different links for each diagnosis, according to diagnostic code
  • Information linked to treatment type
  • Fixed/static links – listed under Info as ‘further information’.
  • Results links – information about tests such as urea, potassium, linked from the heading of each results column

The possibility of varying links shown specifically for children or according to particular test results has not been implemented so far. We previously showed a list of all the links we have selected and will regenerate this.

We have followed these principles in assembling links:

  • High quality and appropriately informative for the intended audience
  • Readable (see below)
  • From a trusted source
  • Not associated with advertising
  • Kept under review (preferably with dates as evidence)

At times we have found it impossible to provide top quality information without allowing some flexibility with these rules. For example, we may reluctantly accept pages with unobtrusive advertising if this is thought not to be potentially misleading to readers, and information of equal quality cannot be found elsewhere.

Reading levels for patient information

Our early policy was to provide links with a reading age of about 14 years or less. This is an inexact science. This online calculator is interesting and has links to the different formulae it uses.  The Wikipedia Flesch-Kincaid link is particularly helpful.  Originally we had a separate heading for Medical info, but we abandoned that and created a single heading as it was clear that more patients than staff were reading the ‘medical’ links.

With time patients seek more information than simply expressed articles generally provide. This can be true for patients of all educational backgrounds. So our future  aim is to provide a series of links that may vary in level.  They should include at least one article that is  easy to read, as above. They will often include more advanced information, some may be professional in level.  If so it should be clearly labelled as such in link text.

For some topics it may at times be difficult to find a range of links, or good information that is as easy to read as we would like.

This page has a reading age of about 14-15 years; or equivalent to an average of about 9 years of school education.  Its Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease is about 50, similar to Time magazine, harder than the Readers Digest.

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