BMJ Best Practice was first launched in 2009. Since launch, we have committed ourselves to a programme of continuous evaluation and improvement of the resource. As a result, there is now extensive evidence of the effectiveness of BMJ Best Practice in clinical decision support and improving clinical care.

Evaluation and research studies on BMJ Best Practice

  • BMJ Best Practice improves patient care
  • BMJ Best Practice provides state-of-the-art content that healthcare professionals can rely on
  • BMJ Best Practice plays a vital role in healthcare professional education.
  • BMJ Best Practice has a proved track record in supporting programmes that strengthen health systems
  • BMJ Best Practice is at the cutting edge of research and development in advanced clinical decision support

BMJ Best Practice improves patient care

The utility of e-learning and clinical decision support resources in improving the practice of healthcare professionals in infectious diseases. MedEdPublish, 2018, 7, [1], 59

This evaluation showed how healthcare professionals used BMJ Best Practice to improve their clinical decision-making at the point-of-care. The healthcare professionals used BMJ Best Practice to improve care in diagnosis, management and follow up.

The perspective of physicians on the value of online clinical decision support. Proc (Bayl Univ Med Cent). 2019 Jan 7;32(1):58-60

This evaluation showed that physicians saw the most value in BMJ Best Practice in helping them to improve their practice. They most appreciated clinically relevant content that was based on their needs. The changes in practice cited by the physicians related to practical areas of history taking, diagnosis, differential diagnosis, investigation, management, and referral.

The Hokkaido Centre for Family Medicine, Japan case study. BMJ Best Practice.

The Hokkaido Centre for Family Medicine in Japan has long believed in the value of evidence to support its practice. Its staff have referred to it for many years to keep their knowledge current and to ensure that they provide the best possible care to their patients.

Online clinical decision support: how it is used at the point-of-care. BMJ STEL. 2017;3:73-74.

This evaluation suggests that users of BMJ Best Practice need support in working up a diagnosis and want to access content in a structure that mirrors the clinical workflow. It also showed that many of the most popular topics were on emergency medicine—suggesting that the context of use is the emergency or critical care environment and that the content is being used to inform important and practical decisions in care.

From classroom to clinical: three doctors share their experience of BMJ Best Practice. BMJ Best Practice.
Three doctors from India share their experience of BMJ Best Practice, a decision-support tool for use at the point of care. They describe how they use the resource to manage a variety of conditions ranging from malaria to cholangitis and how it has helped them to practice evidence-based medicine.

Accuracy and Effects of Clinical Decision Support Systems Integrated With BMJ Best Practice–Aided Diagnosis: Interrupted Time Series Study. JMIR Med Inform 2020;8(1):e16912

“The CDSS [clinical decision support systems] integrated with BMJ Best Practice improved the accuracy of clinicians’ diagnoses. Shorter confirmed diagnosis times and hospitalization days were also found to be associated with CDSS implementation in retrospective real-world studies.”


BMJ Best Practice provides state-of-the-art content that healthcare professionals can rely on

Kwag KH, González-Lorenzo M, Banzi R, et al. Providing doctors with high-quality information: an updated evaluation of web-based point-of-care information summaries. J Med Internet Res 2016:18:e15

This study looked at web-based point-of-care information summaries. Best Practice, Dynamed, and UptoDate scored the highest across all dimensions of quality - namely volume, editorial quality, and evidence-based methodology. BMJ Best Practice received the maximum scores for editorial quality and for evidence-based methodology. BMJ Best Practice received maximum scores for authorship, reviewing, updating, transparency of conflicts of interest and independence. BMJ Best Practice also received maximum scores for literature search/literature surveillance, critical appraisal, formal grading of evidence and citation of expert opinion.

McCrate Protus B. Electronic resources review. J Med Lib Assoc. 2014:102:224-225.

This review is an evaluation of BMJ Best Practice. According to the author, “BMJ Best Practice provides an easy to-use, evidence-based POC tool for clinicians and students. The flexibility of online as well as mobile device access adds to the value of the resource. The availability of BMJ Best Practice content via ePocrates for individual users expands the access to content for those clinicians who are not affiliated with an organization or institution subscription source.”

Campbell JM, Umapathysivam K, Xue Y, Lockwood C. Evidence-Based Practice Point-of-Care Resources: A Quantitative Evaluation of Quality, Rigor, and Content. Worldviews Evid Based Nurs. 2015 Dec;12(6):313-27.  

This study evaluated the quality, rigor and content of Evidence-Based Practice Point-of-Care Resources. It found that BMJ Best Practice was in the upper quartile of EBP point-of-care providers. BMJ Best Practice achieved maximum scores for authorship, peer review, transparency and independence. It also achieved maximum scores for literature search/surveillance, method of critical appraisal and type of evidence used.

Pryor M, White D, Potter B, Traill R. Evaluating online diagnostic decision support tools for the clinical setting. Stud Health Technol Inform. 2012:178:180-185.

This study examined 11 diagnostic decision support tools at the point of care, using an evaluation instrument that included 6 categories: general information, content, quality control, search, clinical results and other features. BMJ Best Practice ranked highest overall in the 6 clinical case scenarios used.


BMJ Best Practice plays a vital role in healthcare professional education.

Walsh K, Ruhbach J. Clinical decision support for primary care system strengthening: Report of an educational workshop. Education in the Health Professions. 2020 Jan 1;3(1):36.

This paper shows that GP trainees see clinical decision support as a feasible means of helping them to learn and improve their practice. They value content that is continually updated and evidence based and that will help them put what they have learned into practice. Clinical decision support needs to be easily navigable and to give users answers in seconds (rather than minutes). GP trainees most appreciate resources that are low cost or funded by their training institution.

Bhagavatheeswaran L, Roma E, Walsh K. The BMJ Clinical Decision Support Initiative: Online training to detect and diagnose infectious diseases. International Journal of Infectious Diseases. 2019 Feb 1; 79:127.  

This paper shows how BMJ Best Practice was used to support healthcare professional education in infectious diseases. Analysis of use of the resource suggest that healthcare professionals most appreciated the practical and actionable content on diagnosis and management.

Walsh, K. (2017). Self-directed learning at the point of care. InnovAiT, 10(3), 178-182. 

This paper explains why self-directed learning is important and outlines the important steps in self-directed learning. It also suggests criteria to help choose appropriate tools that will help with self-directed learning at the point of care (such as BMJ Best Practice).

Infectious disease outbreaks: how online clinical decision support could help. BMJ Simulation and Technology Enhanced Learning. 2019;5:218-220.

This paper describes an evaluation of how doctors might use BMJ Best Practice to improve the care that they would provide to patients with rare infectious diseases and what features they would expect in such a clinical decision support tool. The doctors were primarily interested in how they could use the tool to improve care. They were short of time and so needed to be able to access the content that they needed quickly. They expected content that was both evidence based and current, and they used a range of devices to access the content.

Walsh K, Bhagavatheeswaran L. The Future of Continuing Professional Development. Iraqi New Medical Journal. 2019. 10. 70-71

This paper looks at new technologies in continuing professional development (CPD), the importance of point-of-care CPD, and the role of BMJ Best Practice in delivering CPD and quality improvement.

Pryor M, White D, Potter B, Traill R. Clinical Information Access Portal (CIAP) use by NSW Health staff over 15 years. Stud Health Technol Inform. 2013;188:95-101.

This paper describes the resources used on the Clinical Information Access Portal in New South Wales and the value that healthcare staff place on access to point of care evidence-based clinical information. BMJ Best Practice was one the most highly accessed resources on the portal.


BMJ Best Practice has a proven track record in supporting programmes that strengthen health systems

Walsh K, Roma E, Hilton A. Education and Support for Healthcare Professionals to Prevent Future Pandemics: Report of a Conference Workshop. Ulster Med J. 2018;87(3):1-3.

This paper shows the role that BMJ Best Practice can play in programmes to strengthen health systems. The paper outlines the drivers of needed outcomes: these include the provision of content in the appropriate languages, overcoming technology barriers, linking the resources to CPD programmes or existing curricula, strategic engagement of different types of healthcare professionals, and giving due consideration to sustainability and cost effectiveness.

Communicating better with patients. Clinical Decision Support Training Initiative - case study. BMJ Best Practice

This case study shows how BMJ Best Practice was provided as part of the Clinical Decision Support Training Initiative in Vietnam. The purpose of the Initiative was to improve the diagnosis and management of infectious diseases. This case study shows the practical benefits of using BMJ Best Practice in diagnosis and management, and in helping to improve communication with patients.

Providing the best possible care to patients. Aversi Clinic, Georgia. Clinical Decision Support Training Initiative - case study. BMJ Best Practice

This case study shows how BMJ Best Practice was provided as part of the Clinical Decision Support Training Initiative in Georgia. The purpose of the Initiative was to improve the diagnosis and management of infectious diseases. This case study shows the benefits of using BMJ Best Practice in terms of practicing evidence-based medicine and improving clinical decision making.


BMJ Best Practice is at the cutting edge of research and development in advanced clinical decision support

Bedford M, Pettersen K, Minhas R. Strength of evidence and handling uncertainty: practical considerations and general observations. J Clin Epidemiol. 2011:64:1272-1274.

BMJ produces evidence-based clinical content. Here the BMJ team present their insights into how to assess the strength of evidence and how to handle uncertainty when evaluating the medical literature.

Cypreste R, Walsh K, Bedford M. Evidence-based medicine: what does the future hold? Postgrad Med J. 2015 Jul;91(1077):359-60.

In this paper, BMJ authors look at the future of evidence-based medicine. They see a world where evidence-based medicine will solve real-world clinical problems and improve outcomes, and the same time deliver answers quickly in a form that doctors need and want. This thinking has informed the development of clinical decision support and BMJ Best Practice.

Walsh K. What patients think of online clinical decision support tools. BMJ Simulation and Technology Enhanced Learning. Published Online First: 17 February 2017.

Patients should be at the heart of clinical decision making and clinical decision support should encourage doctors to empower patients in shared decision making. This paper outlines the progress that BMJ Best Practice has made against achieving this goal and its plans for the future.

Arguello-Casteleiro M, Stevens R, Des-Diz J, Wroe C, Fernandez-Prieto MJ, Maroto N, Maseda-Fernandez D, Demetriou G, Peters S, Noble PM, Jones PH, Dukes-McEwan J, Radford AD, Keane J, Nenadic G. Exploring semantic deep learning for building reliable and reusable one health knowledge from PubMed systematic reviews and veterinary clinical notes. J Biomed Semantics. 2019 Nov 12;10(Suppl 1):22.

This paper shows how the Semantic Deep Learning approach can transform neural embeddings built from unstructured free-text data into reliable and reusable One Health knowledge using ontologies and content from BMJ Best Practice.