Looking at the new NHS Evidence

NHS Evidence 2015 screen shot

A screen grab of the 2015 revision of NHS Evidence

There has been a significant update to the main portal for NHS staff seeking the evidence for patient care.  The vast majority of the site is freely available to anyone in the UK so it is applicable to both NHS and student / academic users.

NHS Evidence has a snazzy new (fully responsively designed) look.  The giant eye ball is no longer quite so prominent (the extent to which it looks like a liquorice allsort has increased) but the changes are much more than cosmetic.

The main search box (Evidence Search) has been revamped with the promise of speedier time to answer and enhanced results.  I think it succeeds in this.  Filters have been improved to help people narrow their search and the interaction is certainly less faffy than before.  The old topic pages have disappeared but many searches will return handy context specific materials in the right hand column.

These offer things like information on medications from the British National Formulary (BNF), Clinical Knowledge Summaries and NICE guidance arranged by patient pathway.  NICE Pathways is a brilliant distillation of some times unwieldy NICE Guidance into manageable chunks linked to the progress of a patient through their care.  This gets appreciative noises from all the people I have shown it to.

The BNF access is login free which is a boon as the old BNF site has switched to needing the login prompting grumblings from @BenGoldacre amongst others.

A small number of people may be annoyed by the loss of the MyEvidence section.  This allowed people to save searches on Evidence Search and links to documents.  It has been withdrawn pending a revised offer.  I am not sure too many people will be affected (unlike the upcoming saved search issues with HDAS)

The NHS Journals and Databases page looks a bit smarter and can be accessed from the tool bar on all the pages of the NICE website.

Generally I think this is a good enhancement.  I hope this done there will now be a bit of capacity to develop HDAS.

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Palliative care training session thoughts

I run tailored search training sessions for different groups of healthcare staff.  After a year or so in post I am starting to see some groups for the second time and finding that I have not always recorded some of the useful things I found out ahead of time.  So I will share some of them here from time to time to help my memory.  Peoples suggestions of other interesting things will be welcome.

The group today were are all doctors working in palliative care.

A good starting point was the NHS Evidence Palliative Care Topic not least as it includes a link to one of the NICE Pathways.

Some web searching retrieved a great site I had used last time and promptly forgotten CareSearch. This Australian site has lots of tips on searching and includes a brilliant tool for launching canned searches on palliative care topics via PubMed.

Some useful tips to help me think about search headings came from a chance find of a slide set by a colleague.

A more general introduction to research for palliative care from the Scottish Partnership for Palliative Care includes literature searching but also lots of helpful contextual information.

Finally the National End of Life Care Intelligence Network includes various publications and tools. What we know now looks a brilliant annual update on changes to the palliative care knowledge base.  Hopefully there having joined Public Health England will not stop this useful work continuing.

During the session we used a search for Fentanyl and Constipation to explore search concepts.

Using Medline I was able to show value in MeSH searching by retrieving additional references for only some small tweaks to the keywords and basic subject headings.

Any other brilliant palliative care search resources I should have mentioned?