THE FOURTH COMMANDMENT
Thou shalt honour balanced sources of knowledge, but thou shalt keep thyself from all who may seek to deceive thee
There is no single reliable, unbiased, and continuously updated source of knowledge about effective treatments that can be shared by patients and health professionals. The closest approximation is Wikipedia, which is also the most widely used global resource, although it lacks the support and infrastructure to be comprehensive in its coverage and updating.
Other resources widely used by patients in the UK include NHS Choices and charitable foundation sites such as the British Heart Foundation and Diabetes UK. Health professionals often also access the BNF, NICE guidelines, GP notebook, and the Cochrane Library. But none of these are ideally adapted for shared decision making in the consultation.
Clinicians are also targeted for direct and indirect marketing by the pharmaceutical and devices industry to persuade them that new interventions are more effective than old. This is typically not the case, and they are almost always more expensive. Indirect promotion to the public occurs widely via the news media and sometimes through patient organisations if they accept funding from industry. Shared decision making with patients should rest on clear knowledge of harms and benefits, derived from objective analysis and comparison between the best existing alternatives. All industry-sponsored sources of information should be avoided.
Let us know if you have any suggestions