We are entering a time when the principles of evidence-based medicine (EBM) are becoming more widely accepted. One of the goals of EBM is developing and using common information at the point of care, facilitating the rapid flow of clinical knowledge using common data elements and terminology. A number of collaborations such as Cochrane and the BMJ EBM series attempt to provide a common set of evidence-based content. Despite this, the approach is not as widely used as originally hoped. The reasons for this are complex and not addressable in a short column.
Unbound Medicine has recently released an integrated, evidence-based mobile and web solution that is intended to support effective medical practice. The system is called Evidence Central and provides an analysis of knowledge integrated with the latest research. It provides direct access to thousands of evidence-based research reviews and guidelines. For those devices that have web access, there is also additional web-based content integrated with the application data.
The application is designed to help clinicians answer questions about etiology, diagnosis, treatment and prognosis commonly encountered in practice by providing evaluated, validated and graded information from Cochrane Abstracts and Evidence-Based Medicine Guidelines (EBMG). The information is arranged by topic, EBMG and Cochrane Abstracts are ideal for problem-based questions and include links to MEDLINE journals for the latest medical literature.
There are three evidence components in the application. The EBMG component features nearly 1,000 clinical guidelines including diagnosis and treatment and more than 3,000 evidence summaries that support each recommendation. EBMG includes a library of over 1,000 images of dermatologic presentations, electrocardiograms and conditions of the eye, as well as an extensive video collection. An important feature is that EBMG is updated frequently.
Cochrane Abstracts are summaries of the most up-to-date reviews of research findings for hundreds of therapeutic interventions. Each review details all of the evidence surrounding a type of medical treatment, providing clinicians with up-to-date information that can influence healthcare decisions. Cochrane Abstracts are also updated frequently.
EE+ POEMs (Patient-Oriented Evidence that Matters from Essential Evidence Plus) delivers new evidence that is especially relevant to patient care. Each new POEM is reviewed for accuracy and graded for relevancy before being released, supporting application of the best research findings to your clinical practice. View new POEMs daily as they are delivered or search the archive by date or title.
The application includes crosslinks for fast navigation between resources. It also allows the creation of personalized favorites to allow quick retrieval of relevant guidelines. Users receive free updates and web access for one year.
I am not sure whether having all of this information on a portable device is useful or not. If you are involved in guidelines or best practice work, the web part of it is likely quite useful. If you enjoy having information at your fingertips, it may well be worth the installation on a portable device.
The application is published by Wiley-Blackwell and currently sells for US$79.95. It supports the iPhone™, iPod touch™, all Android™ devices, older Palm® OS devices, Palm® Prē™, BlackBerry®, Windows® Mobile, most smartphones with web access and desktop/laptop computers. The application requires 43 MBs of memory to run. More information is available at www.unboundmedicine.com/store/evidence_central.