ACCESS TO THE ONLINE EVIDENCE BASE

Access to the online evidence base: a survey of the Northern and Yorkshire Region

Background

In 1999 CRD undertook a study exploring access to the electronic evidence base in general practice in the Northern and Yorkshire region. A follow-up study was commissioned in 2001 to assess improvements in the Northern and Yorkshire region against the 1999 baseline, and to provide insights into how the recent information developments arising from the NHS Information Authority Project Connect programme were taking effect in general practice.

Findings

The 1999 study found that general practices seemed to be struggling to set up the infrastructure and to develop the skills that are necessary to access the available research evidence. Just under 60% of all respondents reported having no access to the NHSnet and just under 50% also reported having no access to the internet. All respondents in the 1999 survey reported greater access to paper-based information than to electronic databases. The research also provided some evidence of differential access to information resources between different professions within general practice. GPs clearly had easier access than other professions to both paper-based resources and electronic databases. By 2002, 90% of all respondents reported that their practice was connected to the NHSnet, with 59% of respondents reporting that they use NHSnet at least once a week.

Conducted by: CRD

Publications

NHS Centre for Reviews and Dissemination. Access to the online evidence base: a survey of the Northern and Yorkshire region. CRD Report 23. York: University of York; 2003

Glanville J, Wilson P, Richardson R. Accessing the online evidence: a guide to key sources of research information on clinical and cost effectiveness. Qual Saf Health Care. 2003;12(3):229-31

Wilson P, Droogan J, Glanville J, Watt I, Hardman G. Access to the evidence base from general practice: a survey of general practice staff in Northern and Yorkshire Region. Qual Health Care. 2001;10(2):83-9

Wilson P, Glanville J, Watt I. Access to the online evidence base in general practice: a survey of the Northern and Yorkshire Region. Health Info Libr J. 2003; 20(3):172-8

Funding

Commissioned by the NHS Information Authority (2001) and the NHS Northern and Yorkshire Regional R&D Directorate (1999)