Help us to make the best evidence accessible to the public

A woman reading a letterFor over a year now, Sarah Chapman and her colleagues have been producing Evidently Cochrane, a blog that presents important new evidence from Cochrane Systematic reviews in a friendly, digestible format.

Minervation have teamed up with Sarah and her colleagues at the UK Cochrane Centre to produce a new website.

As you know, we like our evidence at Minervation.  And in website development, this means asking the users what they think.

Users are the Level 1 Evidence for website design

This is where you come in!

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Testing Treatments interactive: why we need fair tests of treatments, what they look like and how to get involved

Modern medicine has been hugely successful at reducing the impact of disease and increasing life expectancy.

In spite of this, too much medical decision making is based on insufficient evidence. As a result, doctors and other health professionals have sometimes harmed patients instead of helping them.

Avandia box

Avandia was withdrawn after evidence of adverse events mounted up

As recently as 2010, for example, the diabetes drug rosiglitazone (Avandia) was found to have caused serious cardiovascular events such as heart attacks and strokes in spite of being licensed for over 10 years.

How we can prevent these things from happening again is the theme of Testing Treatments interactive (TTi), a family of websites Minervation has produced with an international group of collaborators.

TTi is about how we tell whether one treatment is better than another. In other words, it’s about what constitutes a “fair test” of the effects of treatments.

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Blogging the Evidence with the National Elf Service

In support of the development of the National Elf Service, we are holding a FREE one-day Critical Appraisal Masterclass in Oxford on 2nd July.

If you have an interest in writing accessible evidence-based summaries using a blog format, you may wish to attend.

Carl HeneghanAs well as active bloggers from the NES, you’ll work with Carl Heneghan, Director of the CEBM, Rafael Perera, Biostatistician from the University of Oxford, and Douglas Badenoch of this parish.

We’ll do hands-on appraisal of systematic reviews and get practical experience of turning them into digestible summaries for online publication.  We’ll also look at the background, processes and objectives of the NES.  Finally, and most importantly, we’ll have fun doing all this in an informal and friendly group of like-minded individuals.

We only have a limited number of spaces, so if you are interested, please let us know by 3pm on Friday 28th June via [email protected].

Evidence-based guidance for the management of acute dental problems – in your pocket!

How the MADP application looks on a smartphoneMinervation has teamed up with the Scottish Dental Clinical Effectiveness Programme to produce Management of Acute Dental Problems.

This evidence-based decision aid is for non-dental health professionals who are advising patients with oral health problems.

By selecting the patient’s symptoms, the system directs users towards the recommended care.

It also provides detailed background information about conditions that are the most likely causes of symptoms, along with further recommendations for management.

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Welcome to the Lida Blog

The Lida tool helps you to identify the strengths and weaknesses of health information on the web.

This section of the Minervation blog is dedicated to the Lida instrument, Minervation’s validation tool for health websites.

What is Lida?

Lida is an appraisal instrument that allows you to measure the quality of a health web site.

It is free, and is available as an online tool that generates a “scorecard” for a website, and as an annotated PDF document containing detailed instructions and explanations of each item,

What does Lida measure?

Here’s what we mean when we talk about the quality of a health website:

  1. Accessibility
    Is the information accessible to those who need it?
  2. Usability
    Can users make sense of it once they’ve got it?
  3. Reliability
    Is the information the website contains likely to be accurate?

Each of these domains is evaluated using a set of criteria, set out in the  accompanying PDF.

A note on Accessibility

We measure accessibility using an automated check. Our online tool looks at the HTML and metadata on a web page and scans for common errors that may affect accessibility.

This approach can only provide guidance as to the likely accessibility of a website and should not be considered definitive. A full accessibility audit, to the standards set out by the Web Accessibility Initiative, can only be correctly performed using human judgment and user involvement.

How can Lida be used?

You can use Lida as:

  1. qualitative guide to the strengths and weaknesses of a source
  2. a quantitative measure of quality to rank or compare many different sources
  3. a tool to assess individual pages or to assess a website as a whole.

What does “Lida” mean?

When we originally developed the tool, we thought about calling it “Minervalidation”. Fortunately we came to our senses in time. We couldn’t think of anything else so used the string “Lida”, because it conjoins Minervation and validation to make “Minervalidation”.

Where can I find out more?

Check back in the coming weeks to find out more about how people are using Lida to guide the development of good quality health information, and how we validated the instrument.

We want to hear from you about:

  • What makes good quality health information?
  • Does the Lida instrument address these issues properly?
  • What were your experiences of using Lida?



Healthy eating out in Scotland

We’re delighted to announce the launch of the healthy living award website.

The healthyliving award has been designed to make it easier for you to eat healthier food whenever you eat out. Many cafes, sandwich shops, workplace restaurants, colleges and other places where you buy meals and snacks across Scotland have made changes to the way they prepare food to ensure it’s done with your health in mind. These eateries will be displaying the healthyliving award logo and their certificate.

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PPI toolkit out now

The Patient and Public Involvement Toolkit, written by Minervation Associates Sally Crowe and Julia Cartwright, and edited by Minervation Dogsbody Douglas Badenoch, is now available.

The aim of the Toolkit is to help the reader undertake effective patient and public involvement (PPI) in health service development, research, policy or commissioning.

Like the rest of the Toolkit books, the PPI book is pocket-sized and designed to be easily accessible.  Sally and Julia’s extensive experience of making PPI work in a broad range of settings has given them a real insight into the practical steps you can take to ensure success.

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