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Where necessary, conduct a literature and evidence review, critically appraising any evidence you find

Reading book and laptopWhen no relevant guidelines are available to inform your health information, it may be necessary for you to conduct your own literature and evidence review to inform your health information. The Oxford Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine (CEBM) has defined a hierarchy of the likely best types of evidence available.

A key element of conducting a literature or evidence review will be to critically appraise the evidence you find, to be sure of its accuracy, reliability and independence. The practical resources within this section include a number of critical appraisal programmes and guides to finding evidence.

Why is this important?

The best way to ensure that information on treatment efficacy is scientifically based and accurate is to conduct a systematic review of published reports or to base it on a review contained in a quality assured database such as the Cochrane Library

Coulter A, Entwistle V & Gilbert D., Sharing decisions with patients: Is the information good enough? (1999) 318: 318-322.. British Medical Journal.

Writers who do not conduct systematic literature searches will fail to include the most up-to-date and reliable clinical evidence

Coulter A, Ellins J, Swain D et al., Assessing the quality of information to support people in making decisions about their health and healthcare. (2006.) Picker Institute Europe.
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Resources to support you

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How have others done this?

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Anna talks about knowing what health information to trust