Better Evidence helps health care providers deliver better care on the front lines
With Better Evidence, providers serving vulnerable populations can access essential digital tools to improve the efficiency, effectiveness, and quality of care.
Health care providers face enormous challenges daily. They must deliver quality care based on the latest information and research – a daunting task when more than 2.5 million new research articles are published annually. In low- and middle-income countries, providers often lack access to medical education resources, yet they treat some of the world’s sickest patient populations.
As a result, millions of patients face inaccurate or delayed diagnosis every year. The failure to deliver the care that we know how to deliver causes more harm than lack of access to care.
Better Evidence, launched in 2009, seeks to address this inequity. Better Evidence helps health care providers serving vulnerable populations gain access to evidence-based clinical resources, such as the digital tool UpToDate, to ensure they have the best resources to diagnose, treat, and advise their patients. The result is better medical care for all.
In low- and middle-income countries, where the median per capita health spending is $100, the price of a subscription to an evidence-based clinical resource can be a nearly insurmountable obstacle. Providers may be geographically and professionally isolated, and they must struggle to keep up with large patient loads. Even once patients see a provider, they may not get timely, accurate diagnoses or treatments if their provider is not well equipped.
In the last 10 years, the Better Evidence team has facilitated free UpToDate subscriptions for more than 20,000 qualified health professionals in more than 150 countries, approximately half of whom had no prior access to online resources.
Many providers who now have access to UpToDate say it has changed their practice. UpToDate synthesizes the latest evidence in ways that are easily actionable. It is associated with improved patient outcomes, and 98 percent of users would recommend it to a colleague.
Almost every day, I adjust a diagnosis, dose, or follow up of a patient based on what UpToDate offers me. Almost every day, I’m a better doctor for one of my patients, because I had access to UpToDate resources.”
– Provider in Mexico
Equipping the next generation
Recognizing that widespread use of digital tools requires a culture of use and the habituation of providers, Better Evidence is working to engage providers early in their careers.
Building on a pilot study that showed the utility of providing a free resource to medical students and faculty in Rwanda, we launched Better Evidence for Training in 2019 in sub-Saharan African medical schools and their affiliated training facilities. The program “turns on” institutional access to UpToDate, and new schools will be added annually. In 2019, we equipped 21 training facilities in six countries and trained 650 students and faculty.
Better Evidence produces data for the future
Providers accessing UptoDate generate a unique set of data with every search. In a yearlong study, 1,437 providers generated over 3 million data points with their online activity. This data provides an opportunity to understand provider behavior as well as what providers are seeing at the front line in resource-limited settings. As more providers use UpToDate, we are also beginning to understand how we can use the data generated by provider searches to, for example, detect emerging diseases such as Ebola or Zika.
The Better Evidence team at Ariadne Labs will use what we learn to put UpToDate in as many clinical hands as possible and promote the use of evidence at the frontlines of care.
To support us in this mission, please email here for more information.