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What patients think of online clinical decision support tools
  1. Kieran Walsh
  1. Correspondence to Dr Kieran Walsh, BMA House, Tavistock Square, London WC1H 9JR, UK; kmwalsh{at}

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Evidence-based medicine is a vital component of modern healthcare. It is vital that doctors and other healthcare professionals follow the best available evidence when making decisions about diagnosis and treatment. However, evidence-based medicine faces significant challenges. The evidence can change quickly and healthcare professionals want and need the most recently updated content. The volume of evidence-based literature is enormous and healthcare professionals do not have time to search all the literature when looking for an evidence-based answer to their question—they need a reliable answer quickly.1 Much of the evidence-based literature is academic in nature, yet doctors want practical content that will help them tackle the problems that they see every day.2 Finally a core component of evidence-based medicine is that it should encourage shared decision-making and yet this is often neglected in the traditional evidence-based medicine literature. One way of overcoming these problems is to deliver evidence-based medicine via point-of-care clinical decision support tools. The purpose of these tools is to help healthcare professionals find evidence-based and continually updated answers to important clinical questions. The tools also enable technology-enhanced learning at the point-of-care. Clinical decision support tools are generally assessed against long-established criteria that look at their size, evidence-based credentials and editorial quality.3 However, there are …

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