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A call for action: improving decision-making in the commissioning of health services

27 Oct, 16 | by BMJ Clinical Evidence

sian-jonesalison-turnerBy Siân Jones and Alison Turner

While evidence based medicine (EBM) has been promoted for over 20 years and has influenced other disciplines like nursing, little attention has been paid to decision-making in NHS clinical commissioning: the planning and purchasing of services to meet the healthcare needs of the local population. Where EBM supports clinical decisions on an individual patient basis, there is no equivalent philosophy for commissioning, where decisions are made that can affect hundreds of thousands of people. more…

Clinical search, big data and the hunt for meaning

22 Sep, 16 | by BMJ Clinical Evidence

JRB profile picture v2By Jon Brassey

I’ve been running the clinical search engine the Trip Database for nearly twenty years and as it has evolved, opportunities have arisen for working with other sectors or individuals with different perspectives. Recently this has involved the academic info retrieval world: a chance conversation with academics at the University of Glasgow, changed the way I looked at search. One really important notion I learnt about was clickstream data – the data websites collect of the user’s interaction with the site. In the case of Trip this data would equate to the search terms used and the articles users click on.

One thing’s for sure, Trip has lots of it. With a million searches per month (the vast majority being health professionals) we’ve amassed hundreds of millions of data points in the years since we started collecting it. This qualifies as big data. As with all big data projects the trick appears to be making sense of it all and that is a journey I feel we’ve only just started. more…

Whither Evidence in the Social Media World?

9 Jun, 16 | by BMJ Clinical Evidence

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By Douglas Badenoch and André Tomlin

The tired old trope of “my evidence” vs “your evidence” is endlessly rehearsed on the social media discussions and comments sections.  Powerful groups – both corporate and voluntary – deploy effective media strategies to undermine scientific claims that run counter to their interests. And now personalisation of social media means that we exist in a “filter bubble” in which we never see things we don’t already like.  “Intellectual pudding”, when what we need is “vegetables”.  In an era of clickbait, trolling and sockpuppets, what chance does good quality evidence stand? more…

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