» UKAS Begins Pilot Assessment of Department of Health

09 March, 2009

A pilot assessment has begun of a Department of Health (DH) scheme developed with the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) to assess the reliability of healthcare information. The Information Accreditation Scheme is designed to give an assurance that the process by which health and social care information has been prepared is based on sound evidence, and that it is underpinned by accredited certification.

The pilot programme, which was initiated in December 2008, involves 6 applicant certification bodies who will monitor information providers and seek accredited status for this activity. UKAS is working closely with DH to assist in the development of the scheme. The scheme defines standard criteria against which information providers will need to operate.

The scheme has been developed because the DH recognises that health and social care information is produced from a number of sources and may vary in quality and impartiality. Accredited certification will cover the controlled and measured process of producing the information. By bringing providers of health information onto a level playing field, the scheme will ensure that the information that reaches end-users is easily understood, credible and trusted.

The UKAS assessment programme timetable is limited to a seven month window. It is anticipated that the first accreditations will be granted to the successful certification bodies – having demonstrated conformity to EN45011 for this activity – in July 2009.

Pam Beha, UKAS Accreditation Manager, said: “It is vital that people who receive healthcare information can have confidence that the data they get is reliable and objective. UKAS is delighted to be able to work with DH to develop a scheme that will deliver this confidence.”