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How do I find the best evidence for clinical care?

Answer: 

Use UVa's evidence-based medical search systems to retrieve information to support your clinical decisions. 

Introduction: 

The goal of evidence-based medicine is to integrate clinical expertise with the best available external evidence from systematic research in making decisions about the care of individual patients. Evidence-based medical information must have three attributes to make it useful in daily clinical practice: it must be relevant to everyday practice, it must be correct, and it should require little work to obtain it. The following search systems will help reduce the work needed to find information based upon valid and reliable evidence.

Step by Step: 

Search for pre-appraised evidence-based medical reviews from one of the four sources listed below:

  • The Cochrane Library: The systematic reviews prepared by the international Cochrane Collaboration and found in the Library represent the highest level of evidence on which to base clinical treatment decisions. One can browse the newest systematic reviews added each quarter or search for specific topics to see if a systematic review or meta-analysis exists.
  • Essential Evidence Plus: One search across multiple evidence-based information systems provides bottom-line answers that are clearly assigned with their level of evidence.
  • The Joanna Briggs Institute (JBI) EBP Database: This comprehensive range of resources includes over 3,000 records across seven publication types: Evidence Based Recommended Practices, Evidence Summaries, Best Practice Information Sheets, Systematic Reviews, Consumer Information Sheets, Systematic Review Protocols, and Technical Reports. 
  • MEDLINE-PubMed Database:
    • Clinical Queries will limit your MEDLINE retrieval with research methodology filters.
    • Systematic Reviews will limit your MEDLINE retrieval to systematic reviews and meta-analysis studies.
  • National Guidelines Clearinghouse: The National Guidelines Clearinghouse is an initiative of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) and presents a searchable database of evidence-based clinical practice guidelines from a multitude of agencies. This database offers both browse and search functions.

For more information about evidence-based medicine, see the University of Virginia's Center for Information Mastery site.

Help: 

For additional information about finding evidence-based information, request a consultation with a librarian, or email hslref@virginia.edu.