It’s International Clinical Trials Day. Watch the new AllTrials campaign video. And change something.

Results from around half of clinical trials have never been published. Information on what was done and what was found in these trials could be lost forever to doctors and researchers, leading to bad treatment decisions, missed opportunities for good medicine, and trials being repeated. The contributions of the hundreds of thousands of patients who took part in those trials remain unused and unusable.

All trials past and present should be registered, and the full methods and the results reported. Sign up to make clinical trials count. 75,000 people and more than 450 organisations have joined. Public pressure is already changing regulations and getting past trials published in some countries. You and everyone you know can join it at and by sharing this video.

This has to be the last International Clinical Trials Day of the era when trial results are withheld.

Booking now open!
Ruth Brice November 2014

CASP’s next ‘Train the Trainer’ course has now been confirmed to take place from 23-26th March 2015 in Oxford, and you can confirm your place by booking now.

This 4 day course will cover the critical appraisal of randomised controlled trials, systematic reviews & qualitative studies. It will also have a session on how to find the evidence, in a dedicated IT suite. The broad aim of our train the trainer courses is to be able to be more confident in teaching the basic elements of critical appraisal to others – this may be back at your organisation or in a local journal club.

Take a look here for more information or email if you would like to book.

International Conference of EBHC Teachers & Developers

28th – 31st October 2015 Taormina (Italy)

Evidence for Sustainability of Health Care: increasing value, reducing waste

Bookings are now open for the 7th International Conference of EBHC Teachers & Developers hosted by GIMBE Foundation. Built on 6 previous highly successful meetings, the Conference is an excellent opportunity to network with worldwide EBHC teachers and developers in the wonderful frame of Taormina, the pearl of the Mediterranean Sea.

Meet EBHC colleagues and friends from around the world in a 3-day program that will include renowned keynote speakers, oral abstract presentations, poster displays, surveys with televoter, and productive small group sessions to encourage discussion and the development of new ideas. You will try an intense intellectual exchange in a relaxed and informal atmosphere on the beautiful island of Sicily, renowned for its never-ending sun, friendly people, rich history, colourful culture and tasty food.

The focus of the Conference Evidence for Sustainability of Health Care: increasing value, reducing waste aims to promote an evidence-based approach to sustainability of health services, where evidence should inform all health care decisions at every level (patients, health care professionals and policy-makers) and cuts-based programs to contain costs should be replaced by an evidence-informed strategy to reduce waste and increase value of health care.

Whether you are an EBHC expert or a novice, university professor or teacher of your colleagues, boardroom policy-maker or frontline decision-maker, if you are involved in teaching or developing Evidence-Based Health Care, they look forward to seeing you in Sicily 2015.

Download the conference PDF here for more information
Take a look at their website –
Early booking discount ends on 31st May!

CASP Fest! – A review of the day from Heather Lodge

Past, precedents and future
Heather Lodge (Public Health England) May 2015

There is something special about the Mawby room at Kellogg College, Oxford. You could be forgiven for finding it unprepossessing. It is quite a dark room with a good view of the car park and the busy Banbury Road. At best, the room holds about 25 people and negotiating your way between the tables requires a dexterity of footwork that wouldn’t go amiss on Strictly Come Dancing. The room has no whizzy technology to enable group learning; it has simply a lectern, projector and flipchart but, much of the time, it doesn’t need even those.

Why? Well, have you stopped to consider what makes a good learning experience? On my list are fairly basic things, such as: confident, engaging trainers who love their subject, a safe environment in which to ask questions and make mistakes (and I make many of them, believe me), an interesting course that stretches me and varied training methods that help me learn. When it comes to teaching critical appraisal, that learning environment needs to be incredibly good. Speaking personally, the only statistics I tend to deal with as a Librarian are numbers of people using various resources and whether this justifies the expense. The prospect of having to read, let alone explain, a scientific paper full of numbers and concepts like ‘P values’ and ‘heterogeneity’ is usually so far out of my comfort zone, I think I’d be better at feeding lions at the zoo. But, unless you are a statistician, the chances are that most people will recognise the feeling – if not the wish.

And yet, the challenge is there for anyone who works in or uses healthcare in whatever capacity. How do you know what is best practice if you don’t know how to read the research literature? And if you do read research, what makes you trust it? The people who have written it? The journals that publish it? The article that appears in the media?

At the CASPfest on 27 March 2015, founders, experts and beginners in critical appraisal gathered to celebrate all that CASP has achieved and to look forward to its future development. Larry Chambers reminded us that critical appraisal is not necessarily about knowing clinical detail but looking instead at:

Evidence: is the research done in a way that its findings are reliable?
Facilitation: how do we make sense of the results?
Context: what do the results mean for decision-making?

CASP set the precedent for critical appraisal when it began in the 1990s with its checklists and problem-based approach to learning. And because – as Richard Lehmann pointed out – “evidence dissemination doesn’t happen of its own accord,” we have a responsibility to encourage engagement with research so that it can be used to make informed decisions about the commissioning, delivery and practice of healthcare.

So what is it about the Mawby room at Kellogg College that catches my attention? It is special because of the quality of teaching that is delivered and learning that is achieved at CASP workshops there. Actually, it isn’t about the room at all. It is about trainers who understand that critical appraisal isn’t about being able to calculate confidence intervals. It is about knowing how to ask a question and how to find and interpret the answer.

I can only dream of the day when I, too, might be able to deliver critical appraisal training as expertly as CASP. Especially if I can ditch Powerpoint and use chocolate bars, the measuring spoons from my kitchen drawer and a bag of jelly beans as teaching aids.

Heather Lodge
Medical Librarian and participant on CASP international workshop May 2014.

CASP Fest was held 27th March 2015, see photos from the day on the HERE