Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Clinical Evidence: a useful tool for promoting evidence-based practice?

Giulio Formoso1, Lorenzo Moja23, Francesco Nonino1, Pietro Dri4, Antonio Addis5, Nello Martini5 and Alessandro Liberati126*

Author Affiliations

1 Centro per la Valutazione della Efficacia della Assistenza Sanitaria (CeVEAS), Modena, Italy

2 Centro Cochrane Italiano, Istituto Mario Negri, Milano, Italy

3 Istituto di Igiene, Università degli Studi di Milano, Italy

4 Agenzia Zadig, Giornalismo Scientifico, Milano, Italy

5 Direzione Generale Valutazione Farmaci e Farmacovigilanza, Ministero dalla Salute, Roma, Italy

6 Cattedra di Epidemiologia Clinica e Statistica Medica Università degli Studi di Modena e Reggio Emilia, Italy

For all author emails, please log on.

BMC Health Services Research 2003, 3:24  doi:10.1186/1472-6963-3-24

Published: 23 December 2003



Research has shown that many healthcare professionals have problems with guidelines as they would prefer to be given all relevent information relevent to decision-making rather than being told what they should do. This study assesses doctors' judgement of the validity, relevance, clarity and usability of the Italian translation of Clinical Evidence (CE) after its free distribution launched by the Italian Ministry of Health


Opinions elicited using a standardised questionnaire delivered either by mail or during educational or professional meetings


Twenty percent (n = 1350) doctors participated the study. Most of them found CE's content valid, useful and relevant for their clinical practice, and said CE can foster communications among clinicians, particularly among GPs and specialists. Hospital doctors (63%) more often than GPs (48%) read the detailed presentation of individual chapters. Twenty-nine percent said CE brought changes in their clinical practice. Doctors appreciated CE's nature of an evidence-based information compendium and would have not preferred a collection of practice guidelines.


Overall, the pilot initiative launched by the Italian Ministry of Health seems to have been well received and to support the subsequent decision to make the Italian edition of Clinical Evidence concise available to all doctors practising in the country. Local implementation initiatives should be warranted to favour doctor's use of CE.