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Elsevier Interactive Patient Education Editorial Policy

Elsevier Interactive Patient Education’s vision is to create reliable learner-centered education that strengthens collaboration between patients and the health care team and empowers decision-making throughout the patient journey, leading to overall improvement of health outcomes. We do this through:

  • Alignment with evidence-based health care practice, peer-reviewed research, regulatory requirements, and the most current clinical practice guidelines

  • Commitment to excellence in health literacy and plain language best practices

  • Continuous quality improvement of multimedia content development, workflows, and processes

  • Collaboration of content across Elsevier’s Clinical Solutions

  • Strengthening relationships and delivering on promises to customers

Health Literacy Standards

Health literacy refers to an individual’s ability to access and understand basic health information. Elsevier Interactive Patient Education seeks to address health literacy barriers by:

  • Considering patient reading level. Elsevier’s Interactive Patient Education brings comprehensive text and video content spanning the continuum of care. It covers thousands of health topics in 18 languages. Our text Patient Education collection is assessed at an average of 6th-grade reading level (4th–8th grade) and includes a subset of titles available at a 4th-grade reading level to support lower health literacy needs. An additional value for patients is the inclusion of certain medical terms and phrases along with simple definitions. Plain language descriptions and explanations help the reader understand the words and concepts they will be hearing or seeing over the course of their health journey. Reading levels are based on the Flesch–Kincaid Grade Level readability formula.

  • Including meaningful images. Elsevier’s content contains meaningful images that support patient understanding and ability to take action. Images are reviewed regularly to ensure that they are medically accurate and are of high quality for print and on-screen use.

  • Complying with plain language guidelines. Elsevier creates content that aligns with style, language, and organizational principles outlined in the Federal Plain Language Guidelines.

  • Auditing content. Elsevier regularly assesses content with validated health literacy assessment tools, such as the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality's (AHRQ) Patient Education Materials Assessment Tool (PEMAT). The tools are also used to formally audit and score patient education content.

  • Providing content into 18 languages. Elsevier uses a translation service staffed by tested and certified medical translators to ensure that all multimedia content is translated into Spanish, with select titles translated into additional languages. Our titles that cover the most common diagnoses and medical conditions are provided in all 18 of the most commonly spoken and read languages in the United States. Some titles are localized for the Middle East and English-speaking countries outside the United States.

Evidence-based Health Care Standards

Elsevier derives its content from a rigorous, systematic, and reproducible process to find the highest quality and best available evidence. Expert clinicians, medical literacy editors, and copy editors then use this information to create engaging, actionable Patient Education content to help optimize patient health and wellness outcomes.

Elsevier collaborates with HealthDay(opens in new tab/window), a leading independent creator of evidence-based health content, to support us in maintaining a portion of our total library. HealthDay attests that its content creation is free of any financial interests. HealthDay’s content is rated by HealthGuard(opens in new tab/window) as free of misinformation.

Elsevier requires that all internal and external clinical reviewers use the best available evidence when reviewing content. Elsevier’s clinical team appraises each reference to ensure it is up to date and meets our quality standards. Sources include:

  • Clinical practice guidelines

  • Systematic reviews

  • Peer-reviewed research

  • The most current peer-reviewed books, articles, and websites

Elsevier does not knowingly publish false or misleading claims or promote ineffective or dangerous health care practices, including practices based on misinformation, unapproved treatments, and off-label use of medication, equipment, or products.

Editorial Review Process

The goal of Elsevier’s editorial review process is to produce the highest quality content as efficiently as possible to best meet our customers’ needs. Before being published, each document is reviewed by a multidisciplinary team that includes:

  • Clinical reviewers. These include licensed practitioners in the health care field and subject matter experts in medical or interprofessional specialties.

  • Clinical editors. Elsevier’s clinical editors are master’s-prepared or master’s-candidate registered nurses or licensed providers. Master’s- or doctoral-prepared registered nurses maintain oversight of the work of any non-master’s-level clinical editor.

  • Medical literacy editors and copy editors. Elsevier’s internal editorial staff members are trained to review content through “the eyes of the patient,” and are responsible for applying plain language and health literacy principles to our multimedia content.

The team monitors government resources and publications for new or revised core measures, clinical guidelines, national patient safety guidelines, national health care accreditation initiatives, and professional society guidelines. It also leverages clinical content across Elsevier Clinical Solutions, as well as in-house style guides and standard language guidelines. The team regularly completes quality checks and audits to ensure that content is standardized, complete, and accurate.

Review Frequency Standards

Scheduled review Each document in the Elsevier Interactive Patient Education library is assigned a scheduled one-, two-, or three-year clinical review interval to ensure that content stays current with changing practice standards and recognized medical guidelines.

Triggered review If a new guideline, core measure, standard of care, or evidence-based practice becomes available, a review can be triggered by Elsevier’s clinical reviewers. A review can also be triggered if a customer requests edits outside the scheduled review cycle.

Medical Reviewer Standards

Elsevier’s medical reviewers are thoroughly vetted health care professionals currently licensed and practicing in their areas of specialty. Our reviewers span a variety of specialty areas, including:

  • Anesthesiology

  • Cardiovascular Disease

  • Dermatology

  • Ear, Nose, and Throat Medicine

  • Emergency Medicine

  • Endocrinology/Diabetes

  • Infectious Disease

  • Men’s Health

  • Mental and Behavioral Health

  • Neurology/Stroke

  • Nutrition

  • Oncology

  • Ophthalmology

  • Orthopedics and Rheumatology

  • Preventive Health and Internal Medicine

  • Respiratory Therapy

  • Surgery

  • Urology and Nephrology

  • Women’s Health/Obstetrics and Gynecology

  • Wound and Ostomy Care

Elsevier Interactive Patient Education maintains routine primary source verification processes for required licensure and certification for all active subject matter experts and clinical reviewers.

Elsevier Editorial Board

Elsevier leverages an editorial board of licensed clinicians who represent health care systems from around the United States. The Editorial Board provides direction to and informs decision-making around Elsevier content creation to ensure that content strategy best aligns with current health care practice, market trends, and customer needs.

Editorial Board cochairs are presented below:

Laurie Gehrt, MSN, MBA, RN, CCM, CSMC, FACHE, Editor-in-Chief, Nursing and Allied Health Practice, Patient Education

Lya M. Stroupe, DNP, APRN, CPNP, NEA-BC, NPD-BC, Manager, Nursing Research and Professional Development, Magnet® and Transition to Practice Program Director, West Virginia University Medicine and Hospitals

Interactive Patient Education Content Team

The Interactive Patient Education Content Team is a team of Elsevier staff members who support the maintenance, development, and enhancement of Interactive Patient Education content that spans the entire patient journey. The Content Team strives to respond to customers’ needs as communicated through customer inquiries, including requests to update or expand existing content, author new content, or correct errors in content.

Interactive Patient Education Quality Council

The Quality Council of Elsevier Interactive Patient Education serves as the voice of the patient in Elsevier’s Patient Education content. The Council upholds the standards for plain language and health literacy, including the standard language and standard terms used in Elsevier’s Patient Education content. Council membership includes medical literacy editors and copy editors; clinical editors and a member of clinical leadership review and approve decisions that would affect the clinical meaning and understanding of our Patient Education content.

Interactive Patient Education Quality Leadership Team

Elsevier Interactive Patient Education has a quality leadership team of key team leaders and staff members who make final decisions on quality-related policies and practices, including changes to those policies and practices. Leadership of the aforementioned Board, Council, and Content Team present to the Quality Leadership Team any proposed changes to policies and practices.

Advertising Policy

Elsevier does not include advertisements or promote particular brands, products, or health care organizations in its content. We do not allow commercial interests to inform, shape, or influence our content in any way.

Commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Inclusive language acknowledges diversity, conveys respect to all people, is sensitive to differences, and promotes equal opportunities.

Content should not make assumptions about the beliefs or commitments of any reader; should contain nothing which might imply that one individual is superior to another on the grounds of age, sex, gender, gender identity, race, ethnicity, culture, sexual orientation, disability, or health condition; and should use inclusive language throughout. Authors should ensure that writing is free from bias, stereotypes, slang, reference to dominant culture, and/or cultural assumptions. We recommend that authors seek gender neutrality by using plural nouns (e.g., “clinicians, patients/clients”) as default/wherever possible to avoid using “he, she,” or “he/she.” We recommend avoiding the use of descriptors that refer to personal attributes such as age, sex, gender, gender identity, race, ethnicity, culture, sexual orientation, disability, or health condition unless they are relevant and valid. These guidelines are meant as a point of reference to help identify appropriate language but are not exhaustive or definitive.

Questions or Comments?

Elsevier welcomes feedback on our content in order to continue to improve its quality and make it as helpful as it can be for patients. Send us your content-related comments or questions by contacting your IT support or systems administrator. You may also contact Elsevier Customer Support through our online form(opens in new tab/window). For questions or concerns about specific health issues, contact your health care provider. If you think you need help right away, call 9-1-1 or your local emergency services.

Last Revised Date: March 11, 2024

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