In association with

  • West
  • NHS


Your helpful checklist for accessing and using evidence

  • Identify problem/issue
  • Has an evidence review already been done on your topic? – this can be done via Public Health/evidence support roles (Local Specialist Services)
  • Define search question – use PICO as a framework to develop a focussed question that you want the evidence to help you with (you will be searching for the key words – search terms – that emerge from this)
  • Identify alternative search terms to perform a thorough search (synonyms, alternative spellings, alternative endings)
  • Choose the most appropriate resource – do you want guidelines, research evidence, policies? Different types of evidence are accessed through different sources (websites, databases, etc.)
  • Search Use the search terms as a basis for the search
  • Appraise the evidence you find – don’t accept it on face value: how well is it aligned to the context of your problem/issue. Too much – refine your search; too little – review your search terms.
  • Use the evidence to help you in your decision-making: use to inform business cases, in setting out the case for change.
  • Evaluate and share findings – plan any evaluation early, when you are thinking about your evidence needs.

Remember you can get help at any stage from local specialist services

Is your organisation embedding evidence informed commissioning?

Use these prompts to assess whether your CCG has embedded evidence informed commissioning:

  • Is your CCG actively promoting the use of evidence throughout the commissioning cycle?
  • Are you planning-ahead and building in time for a thorough evidence search and appraisal, ready to inform decisions when designing or commissioning services?
  • Or are you falling into the trap of looking for evidence to validate a decision already made?
  • When submitting a proposal for approval, are you referencing the evidence you have sourced to assure the CCG that its decisions will be informed by evidence where relevant and available?
  • Are you making full use of national and local support, such as public health teams and universities to provide high quality evidence reviews and appraisals?
  • Are you reviewing evidence critically and ensuring it is valid and trustworthy before using it to inform decisions?
  • Is your CCG committed to skills development for commissioning staff?