Does access to a demand-led evidence briefing service improve uptake and use of research evidence by health service commissioners? A controlled before and after study

Wilson, P.M. et al. BMC Implementation Science, 2017; 12(20)

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The Health and Social Care Act mandated research use as a core consideration of health service commissioning arrangements in England. We undertook a controlled before and after study to evaluate whether access to a demand-led evidence briefing service improved the use of research evidence by commissioners compared with less intensive and less targeted alternatives.

Nine Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) in the North of England received one of three interventions: (A) access to an evidence briefing service; (B) contact plus an unsolicited push of non-tailored evidence; or (C) unsolicited push of non-tailored evidence. Data for the primary outcome measure were collected at baseline and 12 months using a survey instrument devised to assess an organisations’ ability to acquire, assess, adapt and apply research evidence to support decision-making. Documentary and observational evidence of the use of the outputs of the service were sought.

Over the course of the study, the service addressed 24 topics raised by participating CCGs. At 12 months, the evidence briefing service was not associated with increases in CCG capacity to acquire, assess, adapt and apply research evidence to support decision-making, individual intentions to use research findings or perceptions of CCG relationships with researchers. Regardless of intervention received, participating CCGs indicated that they remained inconsistent in their research-seeking behaviours and in their capacity to acquire research. The informal nature of decision-making processes meant that there was little traceability of the use of evidence. Low baseline and follow-up response rates and missing data limit the reliability of the findings.

Access to a demand-led evidence briefing service did not improve the uptake and use of research evidence by NHS commissioners compared with less intensive and less targeted alternatives. Commissioners appear well intentioned but ad hoc users of research. Further research is required on the effects of interventions and strategies to build individual and organisational capacity to use research.


Three updated Cochrane Reviews assessing the effectiveness of influenza vaccines

By The Cochrane Library (2018)

Three Cochrane Reviews have been newly updated to incorporate the latest available evidence on vaccines for the prevention of influenza. These reviews, which focus on the prevention of influenza in healthy adults, healthy children, and in the elderly, form a long-running series by the same author team, and are available in full on the Cochrane Library:

Vaccines for preventing influenza in healthy adults

Vaccines for preventing influenza in healthy children

Vaccines for preventing influenza in the elderly

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Tackling multiple unhealthy risk factors: emerging lessons from practice

By The King’s Fund (2018)

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  • Previous research by The King’s Fund has shown that unhealthy behaviours cluster in the population. Around seven in ten adults do not follow guidelines on tobacco use, alcohol consumption, healthy diet or physical activity, yet most behaviour change services address these behaviours separately, not reflecting the reality of people’s lives.
  • This report shares learning and insight from services that are using innovative ways to address the problem of multiple unhealthy risk factors in their populations. It draws on interviews and information from eight case studies in local authorities and the NHS and updates the evidence base on tackling multiple unhealthy risk factors.
  • Most services included in the report are local authority led and are integrated health and wellbeing services. These provide behavioural advice and support to people across a range of different behaviours, including smoking, weight management and physical activity.
  • The NHS is also addressing multiple unhealthy behaviours. We set out learning from two hospitals supporting individuals with multiple risk factors.
  • The evidence for these behaviour change services to draw on, in the context of multiple unhealthy risk factors, remains limited. These services are in a position to develop the evidence base on how best to address multiple unhealthy behaviours.
  • The report makes recommendations on how services can develop and share evidence, and for how the Department of Health and Social Care and Public Health England can support further innovation in such services.

Using digital technology to improve the public’s health: a guide for local authorities

By  Local Government Association (2018)

Several case studies showing how various local authorities have used digital technologies to deliver value for money.

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Practical Guidance to SPOT for Improving Sexual and Reproductive Health

By Public Health England (2017)

The Spend and Outcome Tool (SPOT) was first published in 2014 and gives an overview of spend and outcomes across key areas of business for Local Authorities (LAs). It uses previously published data on both spend and outcomes. It contains three years of data on spend and outcomes for a wide range of measures. SPOT can be used to compare with other geographical areas and a range of benchmarks.
SPOT can be a useful tool for LAs who are interested in comparing spend data on sexual and reproductive health with sexual and reproductive health outcomes. There are some issues which make drawing these comparisons complicated and potentially misleading.

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Evidence review of e-cigarettes and heated tobacco products 2018

By Public Health England (2018)

In the government’s Tobacco Control Plan for England, Public Health England (PHE) was asked to update its 2015 evidence review on e-cigarettes and other novel nicotine delivery systems annually until the end of the current Parliament in 2022.

PHE commissioned a group of leading tobacco control researchers from the UK Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies (UKCTAS) to produce this report, which underwent international peer review.

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Sustainability and transformation in the NHS

By National Audit Office (2018)

This report examines the progress the Department of Health
and Social Care, NHS England and NHS Improvement have
made towards achieving financial balance.

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