BMJ FMCH: Universal health information is essential for universal health coverage

26 May, 2023

HIFA colleagues

An interesting paper from WHO, which refers prominently to the work of HIFA, has just appeared in the BMJ journal Family Medicine and Community Health. The paper is titled “Universal health information is essential for universal health coverage” ( )

The abstract reads: Universal access to health information is a human right and essential to achieving universal health coverage and the other health-related targets of the sustainable development goals. The COVID-19 pandemic has further highlighted the importance of trustworthy sources of health information that are accessible to all people, easily understood and acted on. WHO has developed Your life, your health: Tips and information for health and wellbeing, as a new digital resource for the general public which makes trustworthy health information understandable, accessible and actionable. It provides basic information on important topics, skills and rights related to health and well-being. For those who want to learn more, in-depth information can be accessed through links to WHO videos, infographics and fact sheets. Towards ensuring access to universal health information, this resource was developed using a structured method to: (1) synthesise evidence-based guidance, prioritising public-oriented content, including related rights and skills; (2) develop messages and graphics to be accessible, understandable and actionable for all people based on health literacy principles; (3) engage with experts and other stakeholders to refine messages and message delivery; (4) build a digital resource and test content to obtain feedback from a range of potential users and (5) adapt and co-develop the resource based on feedback and new evidence going forward. As with all WHO global information resources, Your life, your health can be adapted to different contexts. We invite feedback on how the resource can be used, refined and further co-developed to meet people’s health information needs.

Geoff Royston

HIFA profile: Geoff Royston is an Independent Health Analyst and Researcher, former Head of Strategic Analysis and Operational Research in the Department of Health for England, and Past President of the UK Operational Research Society. His work has focused on informing the design, implementation and evaluation of policies and programmes in health and social care, and on fostering the capabilities of others to work in these areas. Associated activities have included modelling for understanding the performance of complex systems, analysis and communication of risk, and horizon scanning and futures thinking. He has also worked on information and communication technology in the health sector, notably in leading the design and national launch of the telephone and online health information and advice service NHS Direct. He has served on both scientific and medical UK Research Council panels, and as an impact assessor for the UK higher education Research Excellence Framework. He is a member of the editorial board for the journal Health Care Management Science and in 2012 was Guest Editor for its special issue on Global Health. He has been a consultant for the World Health Organisation, is a long standing member of the EURO Working Group on Operational Research Applied to Health Services, and is an expert adviser to the mHIFA (mobile Healthcare Information for All) programme. He is also a member of the main HIFA Steering Group and the HIFA working group on Evaluating the Impact of Healthcare Information.