Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Here you will find a short collection of answers to frequently asked questions about InformedHealth.org. They are divided up into the sections “General questions,” “Questions about the publisher” and “Questions about the content.”

General questions

Can I suggest a topic for InformedHealth.org to cover?

Yes, you can. We cannot cover everything, but we are very interested to hear your suggestions. You can also help us decide which aspects of a topic to cover.

Please use the contact form to send us suggestions.

Can I get personal answers to my questions?

We cannot answer personal health questions. Please consult a doctor or other suitable person.

How can I stay up-to-date in a particular topic area?

You can keep up-to-date with new topics and updates on our website by:

Please follow the links for more information.  

How can I comment on an article?

You can do this in two ways. Please either use

  • the link to the contact form, which you will find at the top and bottom of each page, or
  • the comment function in the action bar at the end of each article.

Is my personal data protected if I do a quiz or use a decision aid?

Yes. We do not record your answers with any information that might identify you. We generally do not keep any personal details that could be used to identify our users. You can read more about how we protect your privacy here.

Questions about the publisher

Who is the publisher of the information on this website?

This website is published by the Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG, Germany). The institute was founded in 2004. It is an independent, scientific institution of the private and non-profit Foundation for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care. The foundation aims to support evidence-based decision making in the German health care system.

How is this website funded?

The use of InformedHealth.org is free of charge. Like the rest of IQWiG, this website is funded by levies on the costs of inpatient and outpatient medical services, so ultimately from the contributions of the members of all German statutory health insurance funds (GKV).

InformedHealth.org accepts no private sponsorship and no advertisements.

Questions about the content

What sources of information does InformedHealth.org use?

Our information is based on current research. To keep up-to-date, we regularly search the international literature. We do not only look at the results of one study, but instead look at the whole picture. In this way we cover the pros and cons of treatment approaches and advice.

We also find out what is important to patients. And we involve external experts in the development of our information.

What is so different about evidence-based health information?

Evidence-based health information aims to be objective and to communicate the best research results. We will let you know what has been scientifically proven and what is still unknown. This means that our information does not claim to have all the answers.

We believe that knowing the current research results can help you when you think about your health care options, talk to your doctor and make your decisions.

We will continue to watch the evidence as it grows, and update our information when necessary. What can be expected from new treatments, what safety concerns have emerged and are there new findings about what works and what does not work?

But evidence has limits. We do not yet know for sure all that we need to know about the effects of health care. Where there are unknowns, patients’ values and preferences play an important role when making decisions together with doctors or other advisers.

Why do we talk about systematic reviews so much?

There are more than 30,000 medical and health journals. They publish far more information than anyone can read, and the information is not always useful.

Systematic reviews help us keep on top of the flood of information. To do a systematic review, researchers look through large databases to find all the studies they can on a certain topic. They then systematically analyze the best studies to get a full picture of what is known and what is not known.

How up-to-date is the information on this website?

We continually look out for new systematic reviews in the area of health care, and regularly update our information. You can see how up-to-date each article is by checking the “Updated” date shown at the bottom of each article.

Last update: May 18th 2015