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Making Patient Information Easier to Understand


Making patient information easier to understand

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To help people take control of their own health, we need to make sure health information is clear and simple to understand.

That’s why we’ve worked with the Patient Information Forum (PIF) to become a trusted information creator. This ensures our patient-facing materials meet their standards.1
Medical jargon and complicated terms can be difficult to understand, especially if you have low literacy skills. This can lead to confusion, making it harder for people to make good choices about their health.2

Health literacy (the ability to find, understand, and use health related information and services) poses a challenge in the UK, and is the largest contributor to ill health.2 Some groups, such as the socially and economically disadvantaged, are most at risk of experiencing lower levels of health literacy.2 This can lead to poorer health for these groups, as they may not receive or understand the information they need to make good health decisions.2

Language and cultural barriers can also impact health literacy. People who do not speak English as their first language may not understand information provided in English. Cultural differences in health beliefs can also change how people interpret health information.

"The evidence for making health information easy to understand and use is clear. Around half of adults struggle to understand health materials. Those most affected by low health literacy are likely to be affected by other factors which feed into health inequalities.4 Even those with high literacy can struggle when presented with information in a stressful situation. Following the PIF TICK helps to ensure information is accessible for all."

Dan Wills, PIF Quality Manager

The healthcare system itself can be complex and overwhelming. Knowing where to look for help and understanding medicine information can be difficult if you have low health literacy. This can lead to delays in seeking care and suboptimal health outcomes.3

A report we co-funded in 2023, found that only 32% of 2,897 patients surveyed, felt that they completely understood the information that came with their prescription medicine. Over half of patients who responded reported issues with readability. This demonstrated how important it is to update existing patient information.  

PIF TICKAs part of our efforts to tackle health literacy, Pfizer is working with the Patient Information Forum (PIF) and have recently been certified as a trusted information creator.1 Patient-facing information created by Pfizer will be produced using PIF’s 10-point criteria. All materials created to this standard will feature the ‘PIF TICK’ logo. This tells patients the information they are reading is trustworthy, accurate, up-to-date, and easy to understand.

"Being certified by PIF as a Trusted Content Creator is part of a larger effort of work to address health inequalities. Our aim is to make sure that all patient information produced by Pfizer is simple to understand. The 'PIF TICK' logo tells patients that the information being provided is accurate and clear."

Berkeley Phillips, Country Medical Director, Pfizer UK

We are committed to ensuring that all patients have access to health information that is clear and easy to understand.  


  1. PIF Tick. Four new organisations gain the PIF TICK. Published February 2024. Last accessed April 2024.
  2. NHS England. Enabling people to make informed health decisions. Last accessed April 2024.
  3. NCBI. Health Literacy and Access to Care. Published 2016. Last accessed April 2024.
  4. Royal College of General Practitioners. A mismatch between population health literacy and the complexity of health information: an observational study. Accessed April 2024.
PP-UNP-GBR-8850 / April 2024
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