Evidence: The cornerstone of our information

We strive to provide objective, neutral and scientific information. When writing articles, we follow the principles of “Gute Praxis Gesundheitsinformation” (Good Practice in Health Information), which were proposed by the German EbM Netzwerk (Network for Evidence-based Medicine) to set quality standards for producing evidence-based health information.

Our information is mainly based on the results of systematic reviews. Systematic reviews are summaries of the results of all the main studies on a specific medical issue. They play an important role in evidence-based medicine. This is because it's only possible to get a clear idea of how effective a medical intervention is if you consider the results of all the research in that area at the same time. Individual studies are often too small to be able to provide reliable results.

As well as using systematic reviews, we look for qualitative studies. This type of study helps us understand what it's like for people to live with a certain disease, and what it's like for people who are close to them. Qualitative information is collected, for instance in interviews, and then analyzed.

To stay up-to-date, we usually only include systematic reviews that are no more than three years old. This is important because medical knowledge grows rapidly: Every year the results of thousands of clinical studies are published around the world.

German Network for Evidence-based medicine. Gute Praxis Gesundheitsinformation. Berlin: 2015.

Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG, Germany). General methods. Version 5.0. Cologne: IQWiG; 2017.

IQWiG health information is written with the aim of helping people understand the advantages and disadvantages of the main treatment options and health care services.

Because IQWiG is a German institute, some of the information provided here is specific to the German health care system. The suitability of any of the described options in an individual case can be determined by talking to a doctor. informedhealth.org can provide support for talks with doctors and other medical professionals, but cannot replace them. We do not offer individual consultations.

Our information is based on the results of good-quality studies. It is written by a team of health care professionals, scientists and editors, and reviewed by external experts. You can find a detailed description of how our health information is produced and updated in our methods.

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Please note that we do not provide individual advice on matters of health. You can read about where to find help and support in Germany in our information “How can I find self-help groups and information centers?

Updated on January 16, 2020
Next planned update: 2023

Authors/Publishers:

Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG, Germany)

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