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NHS Evidence; something for everyone, not (apparently)

In Evidence-Based Medicine, Health industry, Information industry, Knowledge Management on December 1, 2008 by Alan Lovell Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

In April 2009, NHS Evidence will apparently be launched. An evidence advisory committee has been set up and the service is intended to be a unified evidence base for everyone in the NHS who makes decisions about treatments or the use of resources. It will also be available for use by patients. According to NICE It will include: 1) a fast, comprehensive search function, 2) access to a resource collating information on new drugs for commissioners, 3) a home page users can personalise. Sounds very much like the National Library for Health (NLH), I thought. I then realised that it was one of Darzi’s big ideas and is planned to replace the NLH (which up until recently the NHS has been spending lots of money on). So, I looked at the briefing document to get some more idea of just how NHS Evidence will be different (and presumably better) than the NLH; it says that:

NHS Evidence will consolidate information from a wide range of sources in one central portal, with a common point of access. The service will provide easy access to information that has traditionally been difficult to find, or available only by searching a variety of different sources, such as drug approval status. Furthermore, information included in the portal will not be limited to research evidence – the service will also aim to provide users with access to tools (such as service models and local policies) that they can use to apply the evidence in their day-to day work.

NHS Evidence will apparently not generate new content, rather it will act as a point of access to information including coverage of:

1) Clinical Evidence, including guidelines, systematic reviews, other synthesised content and primary research and ongoing trials

2) Practical Support, including service guidance, tools and models, care pathways, indicators & metrics and improvement information, local examples and tools

3) Drug and Device Information, including prescribing and safety information, NICE technology appraisals, significant new drugs and devices, diagnostics and interventional procedures

4) Non-Clinical Information, including social care information (assured by SCIE), public health information – evidence and practical support

Well, it’s certainly not a miserly set of aspirations. One thing that worries me a bit is that the document says that “NHS Evidence will be designed to meet the needs of users from across the NHS, including (but not restricted to) clinicians, nurses, pharmacists and commissioners” (i.e. pretty much everyone) followed a couple of sentences later with the statement that “NHS Evidence has a clear scope and objective. It is important that the service does not seek to be ’everything to everyone”. Hmm.

Anyway, the briefing document, of course, does not mention libraries or librarians, apart from the fact that it’s replacing the NLH. And it’s going to be run by NICE. Does that mean that librarians have just lost all control of the NHS online information service? I don’t know – let’s see, it’ll be with us in five months or so.

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One Response to “NHS Evidence; something for everyone, not (apparently)”

  1. What is the evidence that we need NHS Evidence? Can I have a few clinical scenarios giving raise to focused and answerable questions which can NOT be answered using resources available now (PuBMed, TRIP, Cochrane, MedScape, NLH (‘simple search’ option!), Google, Google Scholar and others? Have clinicians actually asked for a new service because they feel there is a gap?

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