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NHS makes website syndication more flexible


Mark Say Managing Editor

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England’s NHS has made changes in its website syndication programme to support the more flexible use of clinical content.

NHS Digital said it has pre-approved the most popular 250 pages for standalone use and enabled syndicators to use a small section rather than a full page of information about a condition. This should give them greater flexibility across different technologies and devices.

The project is the next stage of the existing syndication programme for the NHS website, which already involves over 2,000 organisations using content from the site. It is aimed at giving users access to accurate information about illnesses, symptoms and treatments.

It makes clear which content can be used as standalone pieces of information (for example, information about symptoms, self-care and medical treatments) and defines which sections should always be used unedited, as a coherent whole (for example a list of symptoms).

NHS website content is available for any organisation to publish under the Open Government Licence. There are also additional terms of use for content taken directly from the NHS website (NHS website terms of use) or from the NHS API or widgets (NHS syndication terms of use).

Legal rules

Syndicators do not have to pay to use the information, but they must accept the terms of a standard, legally binding licensing agreement which outlines how it can be used.

For the public it allows them to access content from the NHS website from more places and however they choose to search.

Robert Cleary, associate director for the NHS website, said: “Organisations have been using NHS website content in a similar way for some time and it really helps patients and NHS staff to know that people are receiving accurate health information when they search online.

“This project will make the information on the NHS website more flexible, so it is easier for syndicators to use it appropriately.”

Image under Open Government Licence

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