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Evidence Based Resources

The following is a useful guide to evidence based resources available to professionals, service users and the public.

National electronic Library for Health

The National electronic Library for Health (NeLH) Programme is working with NHS Libraries to develop a digital library for NHS staff, patients and the public.

NeLH provides a wealth of information to help inform the clinical governance agenda. It provides useful links on the following:

  • Guidelines - for example, UK and international guidelines, guideline appraisal and development
  • Protocols and Care Pathways - such as a database of NHS pathways, guidance for developing pathways
  • Organisations - for example, the National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE), the Cochrane Collaboration
  • Summaries of research evidence - clinical evidence, the Cochrane Library.

NeLH is an essential resource for anyone working in health care.

Searching for evidence

The following is a suggested hierarchy of places to search, when time is limited, to answer questions relating mainly to therapeutic interventions (use only one or two key terms to search).

Clinical Evidence

Clinical Evidence is a six-monthly, updated compendium of evidence on the effects of clinical interventions. It summarises the current state of knowledge, ignorance, and uncertainty about the prevention and treatment of clinical conditions based on thorough searches and appraisal of the literature. It describes the best available evidence, and where there is no good evidence, it says so. It includes sections on child health, pregnancy and child birth, to name but a few.

The Cochrane Library

The Cochrane Library is a collection of databases including full text Cochrane systematic reviews, Database of Reviews of Effectiveness (DARE), Controlled Clinical Trials Register. It is freely accessible via NHSNet. The NHS Athens password is required if using from home.

SUMSearch

SUMSearch is a new method of searching the internet for evidence based medical information. Querying a number of key databases, such as MEDLINE, and DARE, SUMSearch aims to select the most appropriate source, format the search query, modify this query if too few or too many hits are found, and return a single document to the clinician.

PubMed Clinical Queries

PubMed Clinical Queries provides free, up-to-date access to MEDLINE from NLM on the internet, with a 'Clinical Queries' search option. The Clinical Queries option enables you to restrict the subject search by applying built-in search filters for therapy, diagnosis, etiology or prognosis. It also allows you to run a very sensitive search or a very specific search.

All of the above can be accessed via the National Electronic Library for Health.

If time is not a limiting factor, the following could be searched in addition to the above:

PubMed

PubMed is the internet version of MEDLINE provided by the National Library of Medicine in the United States. It provides access to more than 12 million MEDLINE citations, some dating back to the mid-1960s. Links to full text articles are provided, where available.

NHS Core Content databases

These resources have been purchased by the National Core Content project and are available to all NHS staff in England. You will need an ATHENS password to use the resources. The following clinical databases are available:

  • Medline
  • Cinahl
  • Psycinfo
  • Embase
  • AMED
  • British Nursing Index
  • DH-Data

Checklists for critically appraising the research evidence