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NHS Evidence – an EBM supermarket?

Posted on 20th May 2013 by

Learning Resources
searching for evidence

NHS Evidence

What is it?

The NHS Evidence website [1] is developed by the UK’s National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, (NICE [2]) with what seems like a pretty basic front page. There is a search bar with a nice picture of an iris but that’s about it. The usefulness of this website becomes apparent when you start searching. There seem to be two main ways to do this – if you search for a general condition, such as myocardial infarction – you are taken to a summary page for the disease with pages dedicated to the condition, current guidelines, on-going research and gaps in our knowledge.

This method is good for getting up to speed on a certain condition, although not every common disease appears to have a dedicated page, for example Heart Failure is lacking one but the main cancers and most other common conditions are pretty well covered.

In searching for literature to answer a clinical question – it’s best to combine your condition with the intervention, e.g. beta-blockers and heart failure – which brings up a list of summaries of research, focusing especially on meta-analyses – which may be helpful to get a sense of where the research is, and the current consensus on a particular treatment. I’d say it would be good to use this alongside another database as PubMed, which is a bit more intuitive to use and displays more individual trials when searching.

Is it any good?

Yeah this is a NICE website (sorry) and I really liked how they brought a lot of information together from different sources. I think this is geared toward anyone interested in EBM, with guidelines for doctors involved in budgeting for services as well as patients interested in the latest news and progress in their condition.

I think this would be a good website to visit at the start of your research – it provides a nice summary of what we know and what we don’t, whilst the meta-analysis focused search engine can give you an idea of where the current thinking is with regards to different treatment, and I think it would be best used with any big database. such as PubMed to give a more complete picture.

One thing I would say – it’s a UK site tied to NHS resources – so all guidelines, information on current trials etc. is focused on the situation in the UK. When searching for research however the website uses an international database, and so this wouldn’t matter so much when you’re looking for already published data. I think this website should work worldwide – but if not could you let me know and i’ll update my review to say so.

Not quite a supermarket then, but a pretty convenient website with lots of data brought nicely together and an easy to use interface.

4/5 stars 



[1] Anon. NHS Evidence [Internet]. National Institute for Health and Care Excellence; copyright 2013 [cited 20 May 2013]. Available from: https://www.evidence.nhs.uk/

[2] Anon. NICE [Internet]. National Institute for Health and Care Excellence; copyright 2013 [cited 20 May 2013]. Available from: http://www.nice.org.uk/


Henry Greenslade

Hi, I'm Henry, a second year medic at Sheffield University. View more posts from Henry

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