National Institiue for Health and Clinical Excellence

Annual Review - 2009/2010

NHS Evidence makes quality-assured, best practice information freely and easily accessible to all health and social care staff

Best-practice information at your fingertips

Launched on 30 April 2009, NHS Evidence is a free service that everyone working in health and social care can use to access credible healthcare information to inform decisions about treatments and resources. It is designed to support access to and use of the best evidence. Health and social care staff can now search more than 150 databases simultaneously, including internationally respected evidence-based sources such as the Cochrane Library and the British National Formulary (BNF). In the first year, users carried out 9 million searches on NHS Evidence and awareness of the service among NHS staff currently stands at 54%.

Gillian Leng, Chief Operating Officer for NHS Evidence, looks back at the first year.

“Not so very long ago, the full range of evidence relating to health and social care was available only to those who had been granted access and had the knowledge and skills to search for it. That is no longer the case. NHS Evidence now makes quality-assured, best-practice information freely and easily accessible to all health and social care staff, helping them make clinical excellence a reality.

“In November 2009, we launched the NHS Evidence Accreditation Scheme to help health and social care practitioners recognise the most trusted sources of guidance. In the first 6 months, eight organisations were accredited, including the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists.

“In December 2009, NHS Evidence started hosting a collection of examples highlighting how to improve quality and productivity across the NHS. The new resource showcases evidence-based practices from across the NHS in line with the challenge set by Sir David Nicholson to save £15–20 billion through increased efficiency from 2011 to 2014. The aim of the collection is to provoke thoughts, ideas and discussions about changes that can be made locally to help all staff meet the challenge.

“It is good news that since March 2009, NHS organisations have been able to download the NHS Evidence search bar to sit on their intranet or website, giving staff quick and direct access to the portal. To open up access even more, a service is available allowing users to see a scaled-down version of NHS Evidence on held-held devices such as mobile phones.

Thirty-three Specialist Collections have been transferred from the National Library for Health to NHS Evidence. Over the past year the specialist collections have continued to produce and disseminate annual Evidence Updates for the most significant health problems affecting the NHS. These provide a straightforward and succinct overview of what new research and evidence has been published so that individuals, managers and commissioners don't need to spend the time searching.

“Over the last few months we have continued to improve the functionality of NHS Evidence in line with feedback from our users and we have recently unveiled a new-look interface. Users now have the option to access specific search help and take a virtual tour of NHS Evidence. Searches on medicines also automatically bring up the option to refine searches using the BNF.”