9º World Congress on Health Information and Libraries

Salvador, Bahia - Brazil, September, 20 to 23 - 2005


4th Regional Coordination Meeting of the VHL

September, 19 to 20 - 2005

Involving patients in the creation of a patient information website – the BMJPG experience

  • Information Specialist Manager, BMJ Knowledge, BMJ Publishing Group, London  - United Kingdom
  • British Medical Journal Publishing Group  - United Kingdom
  • British Medical Journal Publishing Group, London,  - United Kingdom

This presentation aims to show how Information Specialists at BMJPG have developed diverse skills in order to provide information for publications aimed at both doctors and patients. In 2001 the BMJPG launched a website (BestTreatments) that offered a patient translation of Clinical Evidence. Information Specialists contribute both to Clinical Evidence itself and to extra information about conditions that BestTreatments (BT) offer.

Clinical Evidence (CE) search and appraisal processes are followed for each topic. This is a rigid, systematic and criteria-based process. For BestTreatments, Information Specialists find information on what the condition is, what should happen in the body normally, signs and symptoms, risk factors, incidence and prevalence, prognosis, mechanism of action/rationale of treatments, so that writers can cover areas like Why Me?, What Will Happen to Me?,  Why do I need to have this Treatment and How Does it Work? It is important to find information that is both from a good quality source and that a writer can translate into information that can be easily understood by a patient.
Information Specialists have learnt to apply different skills to the searches for different audiences in order to supply the most appropriate kind of information for each one.

We have a key role in the content of both CE and BT. The role requires a flexible mindset – CE work requires the ability to understand the prescriptive requirements of each topic and add that to the specific criteria to judge a good quality study while BT work requires the ability to make judgments about the quality of material retrieved and balance that with the ability to select material that a writer can use to explain complex medical research to patients.