“There’s no evidence that it works.” In these days of evidence based medicine, that’s a real clincher – a good reason to avoid a treatment or procedure that offers no proven value. But can we take it on trust that those making this assertion have a good grasp of the evidence, or could this be simply an excuse for resisting change? Those of us who have been calling on clinicians to make greater efforts to inform, involve, and empower patients have heard this excuse many times.
In 2006, my colleagues and I embarked on an ambitious quest: to track down evidence on the effects of patient focused interventions and make it easier to find. We confined our search to relevant systematic reviews, and found far more than we had expected. Eight years have passed since we began this endeavour, and now the latest version – a web tool has been updated by the Evidence Centre, and published by National Voices, the UK’s leading coalition of health and social care charities.