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Patient information awards

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The BMA patient information awards (PIA) were established in 1997 to encourage excellence in the production and dissemination of accessible, well-designed and clinically balanced patient information.

These awards aim to reinforce the BMA's commitment to support good educational practice and acknowledge new approaches and technologies intended for the public audience.

The online entry form for the 2017 Awards is now open and organisations are invited to submit their nominations. Please note the entry window closes on 6 March 2017.

See the How to enter section below for details.

Organisations who would like to enter the Awards this year should contact Richard Jones in the BMA Library on [email protected] for further advice.

  • How to enter

    Use our form to enter the awards. The form is available now, until the closing date, which has been extended to the end of Monday 6 March 2017.

    If you wish to enter the Awards this year then please enter as soon as possible.

    Read our conditions of entry to get further information on what you need to know to enter.

    To enter the PIA, make sure that three copies of each printed resource are sent to the BMA address at the end of the form. It is also essential to read the conditions of entry before applying. You must click on this link before you can submit the online form.

    Resources should have been published in 2015 or 2016 or before the end of February 2017.

    We make additional special awards in a number of categories.

    All entries are considered for the overall BMA Patient Information Resource of the Year Award.

  • Conditions of entry

    1. The awards are open to all producers of consumer health information.
    2. All titles must have been published in the two years preceding the year of the current Awards.
    3. Resources which do not meet the mandatory criteria will be judged to be ineligible.
    4. Resources may not be re-entered in subsequent years unless they have been revised.
    5. Subsequent versions of resources which have won special awards cannot be entered again although revised versions of resources which have been commended or highly commended can be entered.
    6. All resources must be available in the United Kingdom.
    7. All resources must be in English.
    8. Resources must not contain a significant authorial or editorial contribution from a current member of BMA or BMJ staff.
    9. A separate entry form must be completed for each resource , including details of its intended readership and educational aims.
    10. Three copies must be submitted of each resource.
    11. Entries are not returnable and may be sent to other agencies after the Awards.
    12. Resources must be sent to the BMA library at the entrant’s expense.
    13. The publisher of each winning resources and of any resource that appears on each short list will receive a pdf certificate and shall be entitled to use the awards result on all advertising and promotional activity. Additional certificates may be purchased from the BMA.
    14. There is a limit of up to five different resources for each organisation

    For further information on the competition and for details about becoming a reviewer, please telephone 020 7383 6614 or email: [email protected]

  • How the awards are judged 

    Stage One

    The first four questions are mandatory criteria. This means that the resource must fulfil all of these criteria for it to be accepted for the awards. If the resource does not fulfil one or more of the mandatory criteria then the reviewer will be unable to proceed further with their review and the resource will be rejected. If the resource fulfils all the mandatory criteria then the reviewer can move on and answer the remaining questions. When the reviewer answers Yes to one of the mandatory criteria questions they will also be asked to rate how well the resource achieves the criteria – whether it is excellent, good or adequate. Guidance is provided to help them make these decisions.

    The mandatory criteria are:

    • Have health professionals and appropriate experts been involved in developing this resource?
    • Have users been involved in developing this resource?
    • Has the applicant listed the references or sources of information (in entry form or in resource) used in developing the resource?
    • Was the resource published in the last two years?
    • The next two questions relate to how the resource is disseminated and evaluated.
      Although these are not mandatory criteria, they are an important part of the development of a high quality resource and applicants should be able to demonstrate that they have implemented or planned effective methods of ensuring their resource reaches their target audience and that its effectiveness is evaluated. The reviewer will be asked to answer Yes or No to these questions. If they answer Yes, then they will also be asked to rate how well the resource achieves the criteria – whether it is excellent, good or adequate - and a score will be given. Guidance is provided to help them make these decisions.

    When the reviewer has answered these six questions then they will be given a summary of their responses. This will give a guide to general quality of the resource and the process used to develop it. These scores will be used by the BMA panel as part of the judging process when considering which resources should be shortlisted according to the reviewer's rating.

    Stage Two

    The questions asked in this part of the review relate to the resource itself. Almost all of the questions ask for a Yes or No response. The reviewer will be able to leave comments. Where the question may not be applicable to the resource then the reviewer can choose Not applicable. Guidance is available for each question which demonstrates what the question is asking for and may also highlight good practice in that particular area.

    When all the questions have been answered a score for the resource will appear, along with a suggested category of excellent, good, adequate or poor (depending on the score). These suggested categories are standard and based on the percentage score for each resource.

    The reviewer will be asked to tick whether they agree with the score and category.and they can refer the resource to the panel, for further review.

    The reviewer will be asked to leave their overall comments for the BMA judging panel. These will be seen by the BMA panel only and will not be read by the applicant. The reviewer's comments will be used by the judging panel to decide whether a resource should be given an award or shortlisted.

    The final section allows the reviewer to leave their overall comments for the applicant. We request that they are constructive in any criticism and discuss positive attributes as well as any areas where the resource could be improved. These comments will be given anonymously to applicants if they have requested feedback.

    Complete the online appraisal form

    Read the list of the categories considered for the Special Awards


    Appraisal and Evaluation tools and resources

    The Patient Information Forum (PiF) is an independent group of organisations united by a common purpose - the development, production, and dissemination of high-quality information for patients, carers, and their families. Representing no particular group, PiF looks to help organisations, and individuals, source and share best practice.

    PiF has produced a Guide to Appraising Health Information - a new 2010 resource about assessing the quality of information and the processes used to develop it.

    PiF has also produced a Guide to producing information for children and young people - a comprehensive guide about how to produce high quality resources for children.

    DISCERN Online is an instrument for health consumers and information providers to assess the quality of written information about treatment choices for a health problem.

    RNIB Accessible Web Design gives advice on designing and building your website, with accessibility tips.

    W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines explain how to make Web content accessible to people with disabilities.

    Informing patients: an assessment of the quality of patient information materials
    Coulter A, Entwistle V, Gilbert D
    King’s Fund, 1998 (ISBN 1857172140, £16.95)

    Producing Patient Information: How to research, develop and produce effective information resources Updated 2nd ed.
    Duman M

    King’s Fund, 2005 (ISBN 1857174704 £25)