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bmjupdates+, a new FREE service for evidence-based clinical practice
  1. R Brian Haynes, PhD, MD
  1. McMaster University
    Hamilton, Ontario, Canada

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The BMJ Publishing Group and the Health Information Research Unit at McMaster University are pleased to announce a new, advanced information service to support clinical practitioners to keep up to date and to find current best evidence for practice. The service, bmjupdates+ (, has this goal: toprovide clinical practitioners with the best new evidence concerning important advances in health care, exactly tailored to their interests.

For a typical clinician aiming to keep up with the most important “need to know” studies and reviews, bmjupdates+ uses a 2 step process (see figure below) to shrink about 50 000 articles per year in >100 clinical journals to the most important 1–2 articles per month, a “noise reduction” of over 99.9%.

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bmjupdates+ uses the same, explicit and reproducible quality filters as Evidence-Based Medicine ( and Evidence-Based Nursing. Applying these criteria to each article in over 110 premier clinical journals (about 50 000 articles per year), about 3000 articles (6%) pass muster—that is, have adequate methods to support their conclusions for key aspects of clinical care.

All (and only!) articles that pass the scientific criteria are assessed for relevance and newsworthiness on 7 point scales via the McMaster Online Rating of Evidence (MORE) system ( These ratings are specific for each pertinent clinical discipline for a given article and are provided by ⩾3 practising physicians for each discipline, selected from a panel of over 2000 worldwide. (If you are a physician in independent clinical practice, you are invited to join MORE. Send us an e-mail at

The resulting quality/relevance/newsworthiness-rated literature service has many features to help practitioners keep on top of the current best evidence for clinical practice.

Alerts: having the best new evidence find you. If you register with bmjupdates+ and indicate a clinical discipline (eg, general practice), you will receive alerts whenever an article is judged by the raters in your discipline to meet the cut off scores for relevance and newsworthiness that you set. Depending on your discipline, if you elect to receive alerts for articles that are judged by your peers to be at least 6/7 for relevance (“definitely relevant”) and 6/7 for newsworthiness (“useful information that most practitioners probably don’t know”), you can expect to receive about 1–2 alerts per month for articles that are highly important for your clinical practice—a highly efficient way to keep up to date.

Search: finding the best evidence when you need it. bmjupdates+ also has a searchable database of alerts back to 2002. You can search this database at any time. If you have indicated a clinical discipline, the default is set so that the search will be done for only those articles judged by raters in your discipline to be relevant.

BMJ summaries: the articles most highly rated by clinicians are summarised by BMJ writers.

Global links provide connections to a “Featured article”: the highest rated article for the preceding weeks, and to “Headlines,” a popular feature (compliments of the UK National Health Service) that examines the available evidence behind news headlines about health problems.

BMJ resources. The BMJ Publishing Group is a leader in providing evidence-based resources for clinical practice. Many of these are listed in the BMJ Resources box in the lower left column of each screen. You can link directly to these resources by clicking on their titles.

Evidence-based tools and services. Links are provided to a selection of evidence-based utilities, services, and guides.

bmjupdates+ has been designed to help practitioners succeed in keeping up with important medical advances. Try it out at (And did I mention that it is free…!)