Headlines: September 18th, 2002

Patients will soon have access to the same online medical knowledge as health professionals. Logging on to the National electronic Library for Health will give access to the Cochrane Library and Clinical Evidence. Both these sources offer in depth information that people who want to view the same information as their own doctor would find useful. They provide invaluable evidence on what treatments work best to help those considering their options. The launch of the service is an important step along the road to true doctor/patient partnership because it brings a greater degree of equality between health professionals patients.The Cochrane Library, an electronic publication published quarterly, consists of a regularly updated collection of evidence-based medicine databases and it is considered to be the best single source of reliable evidence about the effects of health care. It is internationally respected as providing the gold standard in ‘what works and what doesn’t’, and is used by researchers and clinicians worldwide.

Clinical Evidence, published by the British Medical Journal, is a directory that provides a concise account of the current state of knowledge or uncertainty about the prevention and treatment of a wide range of clinical conditions based on thorough searches of the literature.

The new service, which uses medical terminology, complements NHS Direct online (www.nhsdirect.nhs.uk) which is a patient orientated site aiming to make accessible a variety of reliable health information resources to help people make informed health and lifestyle choices.

Link: http://www.nelh.nhs.uk/cochrane.asp