I’ve just answered the 5th question of the day and decided to check if we’ve had any feedback for the answers I posted earlier in the day. We received the following:

“I stumbled on to the service after searching the haematuria topic via google. The first time I tried you were not taking further questions so tried again and got a very helpful response. I think it is a BRILLIANT service and really useful for somebody like me (a GP) who would like to be evidence based in approaching clinical problems but often th eresaearch is just too much on top of the clinical work.

Serves a really imporatnt need. This is as important as anything else going on in the NHS now.”

I’ve been answering clinical questions for around ten years now and this sort of feedback only helps highlight the importance of clinical Q&A services. The Q&A services I run are answering hundreds of questions per month and are able to offer significant support to clinicians in accessing the evidence base. The services tend to be run with little money or other support. What does it take to have them taken seriously? I can only think that getting papers written in journals will help, but other than that I have few ideas. I still want to create a journal of clinical Q&A and may well get that off the ground after June. I see that having the following features:

  • A formally written up Q&A. I’m not sure what this might include but the following seem sensible: the actual question, search methodology, articles found, narrative description of evidence and possibly a clinical bottom line.
  • A resource review. This would highlight resources useful in answering clinical questions.
  • Theory. There are many aspects of Q&A that lack a robust theoretical underpinning so papers exploring this would be helpful.

My slight concern is that the majority of the papers would be from me or close colleagues who work on the various Q&A services.