Objective: To define evidence-based health information and the conceptual framework and methodology of Germany's national health information website.
Methods: Description of the political and methodological processes in the development of the website Gesundheitsinformation.de/Informed Health Online developed by the Institute of Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG).
Results: Autonomy, empowerment and health literacy were useful theoretical concepts to guide the definition of evidence-based health information and the objectives and methodologies used for developing this website. These choices had direct practical consequences for the patient information.
Conclusion: Evidence-based patient information involves the use of evidence and systematic methodologies in several facets of information provision. These include a process of information development that minimises bias, evidence as the information basis for the content, and the use of evidence-based communication techniques. To be empowering and support patient autonomy, information should be patient-centred and non-directive.
Practice implications: Health websites are communication interventions which can have very different objectives and methods. A conceptual framework can help guide these choices and provide a basis for subsequent evaluation.