Accessible Information Standard comes in to force

NHS England, August 2016

The Accessible Information Standard came into force on 1st August 2016 to ensure that people with disabilities receive easily accessible information and support.

The Accessible Information Standard aims to ensure that people who have a disability, impairment or sensory loss are provided with information that they can easily read or understand with support so they can communicate effectively with services. Examples of the types of support that might be required include large print, braille or using a British Sign Language (BSL) interpreter.

All organisations that provide NHS care or adult social care are required to follow the new standard, including NHS Trusts and Foundation Trusts, and GP practices.

Click here for further information and to access guidance documents.


Healthy Caring Guide

NHS England, April 2016

NHS England, in partnership with Carers UK, Carers Trust Age UK, Public Health England, and older carers themselves, has published a Practical Guide to Healthy Caring.

The Guide provides information and advice to carers about staying healthy whilst caring and identifies the support available to help carers maintain their health and wellbeing.

While it is aimed at carers of any age, it is particularly relevant for carers aged around 65 years and those new to caring.

Click here for further information and to download the guide.

The truth about self-harm for young people and their friends & families

Mental Health Foundation, February 2016

This booklet aims to help you understand more about self-harm and what to do if you are worried about yourself or someone else. It explains what self-harm is, what to do if you or someone you know is self-harming, and how to get help.

Click here for further information and to download the booklet.

Information as Therapy

Captive Health, February 2016

This paper sets out sets out a 5 point plan for healthcare providers focusing on ensuring high quality health information is integrated into healthcare delivery. The paper positions good health information and the health care professional’s ability to support this as central to the two pillars of the House of Care. It highlights evidence showing that information and support improve outcomes and patient experience, and argues that not providing such ‘therapy’ must be considered sub-standard care.

Click here to read the paper.

Ensuring safe medical apps

BMC Medicine 2015, 13:205

Authors: Paul Wicks and Emil Chiauzzi

Mobile health apps are health and wellness programs available on mobile devices such as smartphones or tablets. In three systematic assessments published in BMC Medicine, Huckvale and colleagues demonstrate that widely available health apps meant to help patients calculate their appropriate insulin dosage, educate themselves about asthma, or perform other important functions are methodologically weak. Insulin dose calculators lacked user input validation and made inappropriate dose recommendations, with a lack of documentation throughout. Since 2011, asthma apps have become more interactive, but have not improved in quality; peak flow calculators have the same issues as the insulin calculators. A review of the accredited National Health Service Health Apps Library found poor and inconsistent implementation of privacy and security, with 28 % of apps lacking a privacy policy and one even transmitting personally identifying data the policy claimed would be anonymous. Ensuring patient safety might require a new approach, whether that be a consumer education program at one extreme or government regulation at the other. App store owners could ensure transparency of algorithms (whiteboxing), data sharing, and data quality. While a proper balance must be struck between innovation and caution, patient safety must be paramount.

Click here to read the full paper.