5. Why is EBVM important?

5.2. Information overload

5.2 Information overload

Over recent decades, there have been massive increases in the availability of information, both in the medical and veterinary literature, but also in mainstream media.

For instance, there were 87,000 veterinary papers published in one year (CAB Abstracts 2018) which would equate to reading 238 papers per day – it is not possible to read all the primary literature, or to subscribe to all the relevant journals.

Various strategies for finding and disseminating information have been developed to address this information overload. The availability of evidence summaries (Acquire 3.2) that provide a 'clinical bottom line' is increasing in the veterinary field.

Tall pile of papers on a desk

Evidence summaries are produced by asking a clinical question, acquiring and appraising the available evidence and producing a summary of ‘best’ available evidence, often referred to as a ‘clinical bottom line’. Online collections of evidence summaries are freely available through BestBETs for Vets and RCVS Knowledge’s Knowledge Summaries .

RCVS Knowledge's inFocus serves busy practitioners: a simple ‘research news’ update providing concise summaries of important and interesting practice-critical material. Practitioners can access these online or subscribe to a bi-monthly email.

While there is a wealth of information available on the internet, it is important to recognise that the quality, source, and reliability of this information varies, from the evidence summaries mentioned above, to online public discussion forums.

Not all information on the internet is unreliable. Despite the increase in the amount of available literature, there is still scant relevant evidence for many common veterinary conditions, meaning other sources of information need to be considered and appraised. Using the internet for searching evidence will be covered in more detail in the Acquire section