Improving the evidence-base for primary care

NIHR Evidence Synthesis working group

Project Lead: Professor Carl Heneghan
Project Team: Newcastle - Professor Louise Robinson, Dawn Craig, Professor Barbara Hanratty
For doctors and patients to make reliable judgments about the value of a medical test or treatments od the organisation of healthcare, they should have access to the best available evidence. However, basing a decision on just one bit of evidence is rarely reliable to make a decision in healthcare. Therefore we need to collect all the evidence, on a specific topic, and summarise this evidence. One way to do this is by carrying out “systematic reviews”. This method - systematic reviews - collects all the evidence on a given medical topic, making a judgment as to whether the evidence is good or bad, and finally summarizing all of this evidence to provide an overall summary of the implications and the effectiveness. 
In this program of work a collection of researchers, from eight of the primary care departments in the School of Primary Care are planning on doing a number of systematic reviews - of high relevance to the NHS - in collaboration with each other. The topics these reviews cover include how services offered to patients in primary care can be improved, how we assess new drugs and technologies for patients from complicated reports, how we treat patients in emergencies and how we manage patients at the end of their lives.
A combination of doctors, researchers, librarians, statisticians, patients, members of the public and other team members will collectively work together to deliver these goals. The results of these reviews have the potential for significant impact on patient care within the NHS and will inform future research and the design of services.
For more information see here