An Evaluation of the Five Most Used Evidence Based Bedside Information Tools in Canadian Health Libraries

Alison Farrell

Abstract


Objective – This project sought to identify the five most used evidence based bedside information tools used in Canadian health libraries, to examine librarians’ attitudes towards these tools, and to test the comprehensiveness of the tools.

Methods – The author developed a definition of evidence based bedside information tools and a list of resources that fit this definition. Participants were respondents to a survey distributed via the CANMEDLIB electronic mail list. The survey sought to identify information from library staff regarding the most frequently used evidence based bedside information tools. Clinical questions were used to measure the comprehensiveness of each resource and the levels of evidence they provided to each question.

Results – Survey respondents reported that the five most used evidence based bedside information tools in their libraries were UpToDate, BMJ Clinical Evidence, First Consult, Bandolier and ACP Pier. Librarians were generally satisfied with the ease of use, efficiency and informative nature of these resources. The resource assessment determined that not all of these tools are comprehensive in terms of their ability to answer clinical questions or with regard to the inclusion of levels of evidence. UpToDate was able to provide information for the greatest number of clinical questions, but it provided a level of evidence only seven percent of the time. ACP Pier was able to provide information on only 50% of the clinical questions, but it provided levels of evidence for all of these.

Conclusion – UpToDate and BMJ Clinical Evidence were both rated as easy to use and informative. However, neither product generally includes levels of evidence, so it would be prudent for the practitioner to critically appraise information from these sources before using it in a patient care setting. ACP Pier eliminates the critical appraisal stage, thus reducing the time it takes to go from forming a clinical question to implementing the answer, but survey respondents did not rate it as high in terms of usability. There remains a need for user-friendly, comprehensive resources that provide evidence summaries relying on levels of evidence to support their conclusions.

Keywords


evidence based medicine; evaluation; levels of evidence; evidence based bedside information tools; research methods

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