Posts Tagged ‘DUETs’


NICE’s plans for the specialist collections

In Health industry,Information industry,Professional Organisations on July 8, 2010 by Alan Lovell Tagged: , , , , , ,

I noticed today a tender notice from NICE outlining their broad plans for the specialist collections. Here is an abridged version:

“Today, NHS Evidence provides access to 30 collections of specialist evidence content, the ‘Specialist Collections’. In April 2011, NHS Evidence will launch a redesigned and improved specialist evidence service. As well as the technical developments, topic coverage will be extended and greater emphasis will be placed on quality assurance and standardisation of processes and products across topic areas. The current Specialist Collection service is contracted out to 21 distinct organisations (with an overall headcount of approx. 80 staff). The contracts for these services are due to end on 31.3.2011. In order to achieve the quality, consistency and standardisation objectives listed above, NHS Evidence are aiming to rationalise the provision of the core service to three Clinical Hub Centres. One of these will be in-house and Manchester based. The other two will be contracted out. The purpose of this tender is the provision of the service of these two Clinical Hub Centres from 1.4.2011. Each contracted out hub will cover 8 to 10 speciality areas. Key activities of each centre will include hand-picking content from sources routinely ingested by NHS Evidence, searching and identifying content from specialist sources, tagging resources / allocating to an agreed taxonomy, identifying entries for UK DUETs (UK Database of Uncertainties about the Effects of Treatment), preparing and programme managing Evidence Updates on selected key topics within the hub’s remit (there are currently over 60 Evidence Updates in total across all specialist collections, but this number is likely to increase). Managing and quality assuring the activities of each hub will be part of the service.”

There you are then. Make of that what you will. Nervous times for all involved, no doubt. Presumably the Kings Fund will go for one, given that they already manage three of the current specialist collections. Maybe a consortium up in Oxford (Oxford Radcliffe/CEBM)? They have their hands on a few. The University of Surrey currently manage three. The universities of Southampton, Sheffield and Warwick all have experience, as do a few London teaching hospitals (e.g. Royal Free). Any thoughts or inside information from anyone out there?

**Update 9th July**

It has been suggested that idle speculation about who might go for these Hubs is unhelpful, and that given people are stressed because some might lose their jobs etc. that it should best not be discussed. It is also noticeable that, apart from co-blogger Danni (thanks Danni!), there have been no comments made on the post, even though our stats suggest it has been viewed quite a number of times. I suppose I have four things to say:

  1. I’m just delighted when people other than my Mum read my posts
  2. We rarely get too many comments anyway *sigh*
  3. I’m a chatty blogger who likes to idly speculate. I also find it difficult to finish off blog posts. Ending after “… (e.g. Royal Free)” seemed a bit abrupt. I therefore lazily tapped out “Any thoughts or inside information from anyone out there?” just to round off the post in classic blogging style with a meaningless “what do you think” kind of way. I certainly never thought that I would get much response, let alone “Yes, I am a representative of organisation X, and we’re going for it”!
  4. I am aware that jobs will go, but also that new jobs will be created. I would never make light of the nervousness that we all feel during this time of uncertainty – for better or for worse, none of us have a job for life any more, and we all suffer from job anxiety. I apologise if it seemed to be in bad taste to speculate. However I do maintain that it is a topic of interest to a wide range of people, both inside and outside the NICE/specialist libraries axis, and that it’s right and proper that it is a point of discussion. Of course people on the inside will already have been speculating for a while, and will be much much better informed than I – they also would not start tapping out their inner thoughts on a forum such as this! But there are also people on the outside who are nevertheless interested in what’s going on, and some would be interested in speculation as to what’s going to happen next; and, I would suggest, why wouldn’t they be?

Basically, good luck to anyone who’s going for it, and double good luck for anyone whose job might be affected by it.


‘We call it NHS Evidence provided by NICE’

In search engines on June 19, 2009 by Danielle Tagged: , , , , , ,

Gillian Leng has spoken! In an HSJ article published yesterday (p. 16-17), Leng discussed NHS Evidence‘s similarities with Google-but only as far as how easy it is to use. Of course, NHS Evidence is of superior quality and relevance to the clinician.  A user review following the article suggested that there is still some work to be done in making sure links are functioning. The reviewer asks the question: will “resources that have not been throught the [accreditation] process be dropped over time or not promoted?”

With regards to accredited resources, Leng expects a 30% success rate. A couple of potential flaws of this system are that not all good evidence will be covered by the ‘marque’ system (as not every organisation is gagging to apply) and of course, the one pointed out earlier- what becomes of the second tier evidence? The age old problem of ignoring lesser sources if there is no ‘gold standard’ evidence rears its hoary head again. You just can’t do this. You will leave health care practitioners with myriad information gaps. If there is a role for DUETs, as I believe there is, they must actually seek to answer these unanswered questions rather than omitting uncertainties in order to look authoritative. Will DUETs be accredited also?

Another information tidbit offered up by the article was that ‘Release 2’ of NHS Evidence is scheduled for October. It will include customisation functionality, in the tradition of iGoogle, for the homepage of this resource.

And, might I suggest, some sort of organised, reliable and valid qualitative research into what people make of NHS Evidence? If I may speak plainly, I find the invitation to Conduct a specialised search (along the top menu) unnerving (and I am trained to do this!) and off-putting. Hopefully others’ experiences differ.


DUETs: Questioning unsubstantiated therapies

In Web 2.0 & all that on November 18, 2008 by Danielle Tagged: , , , , ,

Yesterday, I attended a National Library for Health/ National Institute for Clinical Effectiveness (NLH/ NICE) information day.  The last presentation of the day was about a database called DUETs (Database of uncertainties about the effects of treatments) supported by the James Lind Alliance.  Mark Fenton, the DUETs editor, remarked on the gulf between areas of research that are heavily funded (i.e. 82% of research is done on drugs) and areas of interest and need that are passed over.  DUETs does not claim to prioritise research about uncertain therapies, but it can be useful as a political tool to suggest what needs coverage.  Basically, everything that is not in a systematic review that finds it effective, becomes a DUET.  Contributors from the UK are welcome to submit treatments that are uncertain to DUETs.  Categories for submissions are: From Patients, From Carers, From Professionals, Research Recommendations, and Ongoing Research.  Currently the database is being migrated to the NLH.

Do you remember the four categories of information?  The most intimidating one, I thought, was ‘what you don’t know you don’t know‘–turning this into ‘what you know you don’t know‘ will be a massive project indeed.  I look forward to hearing more about their content development strategy (how they plan to entice people to contribute), how they control for quality, and how they keep content current.  Will there be a celebration every time something becomes certain or at least less uncertain?