Evidence-based guidelines are a highly valuable and critical element of clinical practice, but can sometimes unconsciously promote a “one-size-fits-all” approach. Primary Care DPhil student and GP, Dr Julian Treadwell, developed the website, GP Evidence, with funding from the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR), to make the scientific evidence underpinning guideline-recommended treatments easier to access and understand by practicing GPs.
Having become frustrated at the difficulty of providing person-centred care in an increasingly regulated environment when practicing as a GP himself, Dr Treadwell recognised the need to have access to evidence on the benefits and harms of treatments in an understandable, usable and useful format. This way, GPs can share informed decisions with their patients, taking into account the pros and cons of treatments for an individual person.
The majority of evidence provided on the website represents best available expert evidence from NICE guidelines and Cochrane reviews, unless stated otherwise. Data collection and curation was supported by an Expert and Patient Steering Committee, comprised of three experts in evidence synthesis/interpretation and three expert patients.
Professor of Evidence-Based Health Care, Kamal Mahtani, Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences, and University of Oxford, says: "When we teach evidence-based practice, we emphasise the need for the best available evidence to be combined with clinical judgement and an individual person's needs and preferences. The content on this website, which you could say sits somewhere between the scientific literature and clinical guidelines, will support this goal of individualised care and shared decision-making."
Making complex information understandable and usable is a huge challenge, which is why the team adopted a participatory co-design approach, whereby the intended users, in this case GPs, were involved in the creation of the website from the very beginning, alongside patients and the public. Whilst the website was designed with GPs in mind, the content provided should be useful and relevant to specialist nurses, primary care pharmacists and other healthcare professionals who manage long-term conditions in primary care.
When asked about the success of the website development, Dr Julian Treadwell, Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences, and University of Oxford, said: “We hope this process has produced a genuinely useful resource in a world of information overload. The insights gained from this level of user involvement were incredibly valuable and significantly shaped the finished product.”
GP Evidence is free to all users and carries no advertising. Visit the website here.
Professor of Primary Care, Trish Greenhalgh, Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences, and University of Oxford, says: "One of the longstanding challenges in evidence-based healthcare has been how to enable front-line clinicians to access clinical evidence in a way they can understand and use in practice. This website breaks new ground in that endeavour and opens up a wealth of research knowledge for the consulting room."