gms | German Medical Science

G-I-N Conference 2012

Guidelines International Network

22.08 - 25.08.2012, Berlin

Short Patient Information Leaflets for foreign language patients – a German example for guideline developers in other countries?

Meeting Abstract

  • S. Schwencke - Agency for Quality in Medicine, Berlin, Germany
  • C. Hahnenkamp - Agency for Quality in Medicine, Berlin, Germany
  • S. Siegert - Agency for Quality in Medicine, Berlin, Germany
  • J. Schirm - Agency for Quality in Medicine, Berlin, Germany
  • C. Schaefer - Agency for Quality in Medicine, Berlin, Germany
  • G. Ollenschläger - Agency for Quality in Medicine, Berlin, Germany

Guidelines International Network. G-I-N Conference 2012. Berlin, 22.-25.08.2012. Düsseldorf: German Medical Science GMS Publishing House; 2012. DocP190

doi: 10.3205/12gin302, urn:nbn:de:0183-12gin3028

Published: July 10, 2012

© 2012 Schwencke et al.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( You are free: to Share – to copy, distribute and transmit the work, provided the original author and source are credited.



Background: Patient information documents are key tools for shared decision. Elaborated Patient Clinical Practice Guidelines (CPGs) are mandatory documents within the German Program for National Disease Management CPGs. In order to familiarize the public with Patient CPG contents, two-sided Short Patient Information Leaflets (SPILs) for each Patient CPG were introduced in 2010. Today (2/2012) 22 SPILs are available. Physicians can download them for free and hand them out to patients.

Context: SPILs are meant to enhance patients’ commitment and motivation. This support is especially relevant for foreign language patients. Because of a large migrant population in Germany, we started to translate our SPILs in 2011. To learn from role models we searched on web pages of international guideline providers in English-speaking countries for similar projects.

Description of Best Practice: On the basis of migrant population statistics we selected six languages – Arabic, English, French, Russian, Spanish and Turkish. We chose qualified translators – native speakers, specialized in medicine. At least one external physician, also a native speaker, controlled every translation. The translations will be published alongside the German SPILs, starting with “Diabetes and Your Eyes“, and “Diabetes and Your Feet“, in the spring of 2012. We identified several patient information translation projects in different countries, which gave us valuable insight regarding the translation process. However, we could not find a comparable program.

Lessons: Special needs of foreign language patients are of relevance in many countries. The German SPIL translation project provides an example of bringing evidence based information to that target group.