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The British National Electronic Library for Health aims to provide both healthcare professionals and the public with knowledge to support healthcare related decisions. This meta resource is essentially an electronic clearinghouse of various initiatives within the UK and the National Health Service (NHS). The main site is free to all users, but only registered NHS health providers can access some of the linked sites.
The main site home page is very busy and best used as a bookmarked portal. Evidence-based medicine resources can be found easily under the Knowledge button, with links to such familiar resources as PubMed, Clinical Evidence, Health Technology Assessment publications, and Bandolier. Navigation of the NeLH home page is quick, but the ease of retrieval of the evidence-based resources depends on the user’s familiarity with the host sites. Under Resources on the NeLH home page, there are separate portals for collected resources linked by major headings such as disease sites, for various health professionals including nurses and physicians, and for general references such as medical dictionaries. All of these resources are easily navigable. There is also a section highlighting Bandolier that is updated regularly. Overall, this is a well conceived web site that is easy to use for those already familiar with evidence-based medicine resources, and probably easy to learn for everyone else.
This site has 3 major limitations. There are few links to North American or other non-UK, English language sites, other than PubMed. Furthermore, the lack of an explicit evidence-based system relating to retrieval and analysis of information limits usefulness of the site, and thus the evidence-based practitioner should be cautious. Finally, some of the best evidence-based medicine sites are not available for the non-NHS user.
The NeLH Web site is developing as an excellent meta resource and will become an enviable standard for a national professional resource as its current limitations are overcome. I would recommend it for all users to browse and bookmark.
Methods/Quality of information: ★★☆☆☆
Clinical Usefulness: ★★★★☆
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