Tuesday, 15 April 2008

Evidence based medicine: a soft option?

Evidence based medicine: a soft option?

On Saturday I went along to Weston Park Museum to visit the Medical Students’ Teddy Bear Hospital.

Photo of green teddy visiting radiology

Green Teddy visits Radiology!

As a medical librarian I was keen to find out if clinical decisions in the teddy bear hospital were being made according to the best evidence!

Take Green Teddy for example, brought in by my 6 year old daughter Annabel who was concerned that his obstinate refusal to go in the washing machine set him at high risk for contracting an infection. Fortunately a thorough consultation was undertaken by Dr Hannah who quickly spotted that poor old Green Ted was also suffering from what appeared to be the early signs of alopecia. She was rightly concerned that washing Green Ted might aggravate his alopecia and that this was perhaps a contraindication in his care.

I spoke to Teddy Hospital organisers, final year medical students, Abi Jones and Emily Lees to find out how their decision making was influenced and if they would use the research available from the Health Sciences Library to influence their decisions!

As Abi quickly pointed out, the evidence base for treating soft toys is very limited and is largely based on the judgement and experience of the teddy bear doctors!
However I was assured that clinical guidelines, systematic reviews and randomized controlled trials would be used to influence their decision making, whenever they were available.

The library might not always be able to help with soft toy medicine but it is here to support evidence based practice in the clinical setting. We can guide you through the hierarchy of evidence to support your clinical practice. Here are some resources that you might use …

The National Library of Guidelines is the index to retrieve all clinical guidelines

The Cochrane Library indexes all systematic reviews

Ovid Medline is the key resource for searching for randomized controlled trials (retrieving just rcts from Medline can be done using the publication type limit)
Connect via MUSE-Library-Databases

Thank you Abi, Emily and all involved, for organising the Teddy Bear Hospital. My children and their friends had a fantastic time. As for Green Teddy … we have settled on a gentle hand wash :-)

Photo of the doctors at the teddy bear hospital
Dr Abi and Dr Emily with a 'patient'

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