NHS Evidence – feedback session

NHS EvicenceOn May 10th NHS Evidence got a revamp – it’s not just a tart of up of the old National Library for Health – it’s a whole new resources. For those of us who use this site on a regular basis it was a bit of a shock to see some useful resources dropped (specialist collections), some not covered for technical reasons (cochrane library), and a bit of a pain to have to search for the resources we know are still there, but just not where we left them! (eg MyLibrary).

It was good to spend some time with the lovely Anne, Suzy, Katie and Paul from NHS Evidence to get the low down on the new interface and give some feedback (ok, loads of feedback).

It was a relief to hear that the site is a work in progress – it’s constantly under development and they know there are some serious glitches. Their ethos around NHS Evidence is that it’s a “good place to start”, and I think I’d agree with that. TRIP (lovely resource) and NHS Evidence are my first ports of call for a quick and dirty search and/or skimming the cream on a topic.

My first gripe was that the specialist collections have been closed down – these were such a great resource, and one that really helped to sell the site. However they were too expensive apparently,  and to variable in quality. So, instead, eventually, we’ll have hubs. Now I don’t think that nearly enough information was available about what these would cover. I think the hubs are the production process and there wont just be 3 topics covered, but what Anne et al were able to confirm was that one hub would be created around medicines (not least because NICE have incorporated the National Prescribing Centre, and National electronic Library for Medicines).  MORE INFO ON HUBS PLEASE!

http://www.evidence.nhs.uk/medicines

a-z medicines

The A-Z of Topics will continue to be populated, and my attention was drawn to the
A-Z of Medicines

– a brilliant resource which could prove really useful, but why not shout about this more?

The search function has got intellisens search and spelling suggestions, which is all very google-esque which is great.

The accreditation process is a good thing, but currently only applies to guidelines. I suspect that a bit too much is made of this – if the resource is good enough to be covered by the NHS Evidence Search (which by definition is supposed to only be the good stuff!) then what is added by having some sources of information accredited (a hoop for that organisation) and some not… But I have to admit, that seeing the decisions of who has been accredited and who hasn’t is interesting (ps – it’s not NICE who accredits, it’s an independent panel facilitated by NICE).

NICE PathwaysThe NICE Pathways are supposed to be helping hands to get the best from the NICE Guidelines, rather than a substitute for Map of Medicine (very lovely resource!) The number of pathways will increase from 18 to 60 by the end of 2011/12 financial year.

The QIPP  (Quality, Innovation, Productivity and Prevention) pages seemed really useful but I’ll need to investigate a bit further. But the best bit on these pages was the fact that there’s Cochrane Quality and Productivity topics . These provide evidence for treatments or services which are NOT cost-effective and which could be stopped. Sounds like a great resource.

We had loads of gripes about page layouts,  and where the links for particular resources were, and some functionality issues (eg why do you have to login to MyEvidence (yet another password since this is not ATHENS related) to get access to a clipboard function – if pubmed can have a temporary clipboard, why not NHS Evidence?)

Also good to get reassurance that there was commitment on the part of NICE and NHS Evidence to continue to support and upgrade the resources available via ATHENS. No clear message about how this would be funded come June 2012 when SHAs will stop contributing cash to the national coffer to pay for these resources, but it’s early days yet to sort out that sort of thing… isn’t it? hmmm

All in all, good to play with the new resource, and good to give feedback and to feel as if we’re being listened to. Obviously not all of our “advice” will be implemented, and it might have saved a lot of heartache and swearing if they’d asked a few librarians before they made the changes, but we need to speak up when asked for comment.

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One Response to NHS Evidence – feedback session

  1. Thomas Veale says:

    It took 3 clicks to get to a page which lets you know that OR, AND, NOT can be used in searches.
    ‘*’, the wildcard operator, can be used but this is not mentioned!

    I even found a help section on using HDAS, etc. with inferior graphics, and yes this is even harder to find, so much so that I am at a loss to say where it is. Oops just found it – go to

    >About NHS Athens>Eligibility criteria> Help !

    In view of the labyrinthine location of help pages one must presume they are either being hid for future revealation, or else someone likes hide and seek.

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