Friday, November 30, 2012

Early New Years Resolution?

There's lots of reasons why researchers and research students should blog about their work, and read other blogs: 
  • to learn about other people working in similar fields 
  • to gain a habit of reflection
  • to get used to writing about your work
  • to gain a public profile
  • to promote and disseminate your work

For more insights read the prize winning post by Suzi Gage on SciLogs: sifting the evidence.

To help you along the way to your first blog, or to maintaining your blogging habits, maybe the following will help:
You might also find these slides useful:

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

New Evidence Updates

Lung Cancer and Peritoneal Dialysis are the latest topics to have receive an Evidence Update from NICE.
"Evidence Updates highlight new evidence relating to published accredited guidance. They are based on the scope of the particular guidance they relate to and provide a commentary on a selection of new articles published since the guidance was issued. In particular, Evidence Updates highlight key points from the new evidence and provide a commentary describing its strengths and weaknesses. They also indicate whether the new evidence may have a potential impact on current guidance. Evidence Updates aim to reduce the need for individuals, managers and commissioners to search for new evidence. Evidence Updates do not replace current guidance and do not provide formal practice recommendations. "

See the other topics, arranged by speciality, that have been covered by the Evidence Updates recently here.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Confused about Number Needed to Treat?

All you just need is NNT  - the blog that puts "evidence based medicine under the microscope".

With a clear explanation of what Number Needed to Treat actually means (it's a "a measurement of the impact of a medicine or therapy by estimating the number of patients that need to be treated in order to have an impact on one person" BTW), and regular updates of evidence on different therapeutic interventions, NNT is a great site to help you get to grips with this calculation.

Other useful calculators are available at:

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

NHS Mandate

The first Mandate between the Government and the NHS Commissioning Board, setting out the ambitions for the health service for the next two years was published on 13th November.

The NHS Mandate is structured around five key areas where the Government expects the NHS Commissioning Board to make improvements:
  • preventing people from dying prematurely
  • enhancing quality of life for people with long-term conditions
  • helping people to recover from episodes of ill health or following injury
  • ensuring that people have a positive experience of care
  • treating and caring for people in a safe environment and protecting them from avoidable harm.
Through the Mandate, the NHS will be measured, for the first time, by how well it achieves the things that really matter to people.
The key objectives contained within the Mandate include:
  • improving standards of care and not just treatment, especially for the elderly
  • better diagnosis, treatment and care for people with dementia
  • better care for women during pregnancy, including a named midwife responsible for ensuring personalised, one-to-one care throughout pregnancy, childbirth and the postnatal period
  • every patient will be able to give feedback on the quality of their care through the Friends and Family Test starting from next April – so patients will be able to tell which wards, A&E departments, maternity units and hospitals are providing the best care
  • by 2015 everyone will be able to book their GP appointments online, order a repeat prescription online and talk to their GP online
  • putting mental health on an equal footing with physical health – this means everyone who needs mental health services having timely access to the best available treatment
  • preventing premature deaths from the biggest killers
  • by 2015, everyone should be able to find out how well their local NHS is providing the care they need, with the publication of the results it achieves for all major services.
Watch Jeremy Hunt present the Mandate to Parliament:

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Thursday, November 01, 2012

New online anatomy resource - Instant Anatomy

Struggling to tell where the internal jugular stops and the subclavian begins? Or want a quick podcast of the Myotomes and Dermatomes in the Upper Limb?

Then Instant Anatomy could be the answer.

As well as including clear diagrams, and complementary podcasts, there are MCQs and apps for your smart phone.

Use your RAVEN login to access when you're away from a Cambridge University computer.

New look TRIP

TRIP has always been a tremendously useful tool for skimming the cream of the evidence - getting guidelines, summaries of evidence, systematic reviews quickly and easily, but it just got better. 

As well as covering the same high quality evidence as before, the search results also include videos, images, patient information and more.

The website has had a bit of a makeover, and includes new improved Advanced and PICO search options to help you structure your search better.
Remember? PICO? 
  • P - Patient/Problem
  • I - Intervention
  • C - Comparison
  • O - Outcome
It can really help tease your question apart, and help you structure your search. More info....

For a quick introduction to TRIP have a look,

And for more help try: or ask in the Medical Library.