Although not technically appraisal tools or formulae, awards that recognise the quality of consumer health information and communication with patients and the public are definitely worth exploring. The BMA Patient Information Award is the longest running, and probably the most relevant for information producers. It attracts a growing list of applicants each year, with an ever increasing range of formats. Many PiF members apply each year and many have been winners or received high commended or commended awards.
All of the awards listed below are given annually and provide an opportunity for you to shine!
BMA Patient Information Award
The BMA’s patient information award was first given in 1997 to recognise quality in written patient information. The aim of the award is to ‘encourage the production and dissemination of accessible, well-designed and clinically balanced materials which will enhance patients’ understanding of health issues and their ability to participate in decisions about their care’. The criteria for assessment have evolved over time. They focus on areas such as evidence base, authorship, accessibility, user involvement and use of language which contribute toward information of high quality.
Consumer health information and current best practice had developed significantly since the awards began, particularly with the development of new media. The BMA PIA team asked PiF to review the awards in 2011, including the categories, judging criteria and processes used to assess information. The review included an online survey and meetings of PiF members to discuss the key criteria for high quality health information resources. The outcome of the work was new awards categories, a new reviewer form and judging criteria
Special awards are made each year for resources which aid decision making, self care and the management of long term conditions. There is also an award for innovation.
The closing date for entries each year is usually in February, with the awards given at a ceremony at the BMA in September.
The Communiqué Awards are specifically designed to recognise and commend excellence and best practice in healthcare communications that ultimately deliver real improvements in healthcare, do the right thing for patients, build trust with stakeholders and enhance industry reputation.
The Awards recognise and provide a showcase for outstanding work together with the means to champion the highest possible standards and help shape future thinking and are hugely motivational for the winning teams and individuals, whether they are professionals working in-house, in consultancy or with any other relevant healthcare organisation. Award categories include best patient initiative and best public health intiative.
The Association for Healthcare Communication and Marketing Awards
Run by the AHCM, since 1997, the awards acknowledge excellence and best practice in health communications, marketing and engagement across the NHS and partner organisations in the UK. The Awards recognise excellence in all forms of communication in, and for, the NHS and health and social care throughout the UK. They are open to people working in or for the NHS and other health and social care organisations including agencies and freelancers. Award categories include best social marketing campaign and best use of new media.
GSK IMPACT Awards
The GSK IMPACT Awards have been running since 1997 and are designed to recognise and reward charities that are doing excellent work to improve people’s health. The awards are funded by GlaxoSmithKline and managed in partnership with The King’s Fund.
The awards are open to registered charities that are at least three years old, working in a health-related field in the UK, with a total annual income between £10,000 and £1.5 million. Applicants must target community health needs in the UK. Community can be defined as a geographical community or a community of interest. Organisations must also have a track record of achievement in community health issues.
Organised by the UK’s leading provider of healthcare IT news, the EHI Awards seek out and reward outstanding work within the sector and are the only awards that specifically highlight the achievements of those working within UK healthcare IT. Categories include the Best use of social media in healthcare category.
Media such as Twitter and Facebook can be useful tools to seek out hard-to-reach groups or deliver information to support specific campaigns. But there are many other forms of social media and their functions include listening as well as giving out messages. EHI want to hear about the best examples of social media use in this category.
- Applying for awards is a great way to gain recognition for your work; it can boost morale within your team and makes a statement about your abilities of your organisation as an information producer.
- Check the entry criteria carefully before you decide to apply. Make sure your resource or project meets all of the mandatory criteria asked; don’t try to ‘shoehorn’ your project or resource to fit, as you will probably fall at the first hurdle.
- If you win an award, if you are shortlisted or commended, then shout about it! Tell your users, your colleagues, the media and your funders and supporters. Tweet about it and put it on your Facebook page. Create a press release and make sure it’s in your newsletters and one your web site.
- If the awards comes with a logo, use it where ever you can (and wherever it is appropriate) – on the resource that won, on your web site (preferably on the home page) and in your annual report for example.
- If you played an integral part in producing and award winning resource, or running an award winning project, don’t forget to add the details to your CV and your LinkedIn page.