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A useful tool for staying up to date with research

RCVS Knowledge compiles a list of stand-out veterinary evidence every two months to keep vets informed about the latest findings

26 September 2018, at 10:37am

With the inexorable shift towards evidence-based veterinary medicine growing ever more relevant and engrained, how are we to keep up with what is quickly – and positively – becoming an in-depth and varied research base?

Even if practitioners had the capacity to stop the clock and delve through the body of evidence, how would we know where to look? How many papers on exotics would we have to sift through to get to the more relevant domestic stuff? And even if we, in some caffeine-fuelled stupor, managed to find the material applicable to our own specialism, how could we be sure we’d extracted the important clinical information and that it was any good?

Wouldn’t it be great if there existed something that planted its stethoscope firmly on every veterinary journal out there and listened out for the best bits, summarised them, packaged them up and sent them to you to put into practice whenever you need? Well, there is.

infocusvj.org
infocusvj.org

inFOCUS

inFOCUS is a journal watch, which does exactly what it says on the tin (it “watches” journals), except the tin in this case is a bimonthly email highlighting the best recent research. The service has been in the wild for just over a year, and during that time has tamed hordes of papers, studies and guidelines to pick out the best, most impactful articles.

A quick-to-digest summary and takehome message is cultivated for each, providing subscribers with enough information to chew on and choose whether they want to sink their teeth into the original material.

Since its initial release last summer, inFOCUS has highlighted research and recommendations around a host of in focus topics, such as antimicrobial resistance, vaccines and ethical treatment decisions.

No subject is off limits, providing it is veterinary related; there is also a regular In the Spotlight feature, which takes a specific area, collates the research and supporting information, and puts it in one place.

The beauty of inFOCUS is in its simplicity. Whereas you normally need to read behind the headline and critically appraise new research for accuracy, bias and other complicating factors, inFOCUS has already done that for you.

Not only does that save you a potentially immeasurable amount of time better spent on animal well-being (as well as your own), it also gives you the confidence that what you are being told has been evaluated and endorsed by a team of independent experts.

That process is gloriously simple too; the RCVS Knowledge Library and Information Service (LIS) keeps track of new material in over 100 publications (including all the major peer-reviewed journals) all year round, and compiles a “long list” of the stand-out evidence every two months.

This is then narrowed down to a shortlist of no more than 15, based on an evaluation of overall quality and relevance. An independent Clinical Review Team thoroughly assesses these, scoring them on their relevance and interest to the general practitioner, impact in practice, quality and the clinical soundness of their conclusions and recommendations.

Once the top five or six have been established, the summaries are drawn up and sent out in the next edition, ensuring practitioners have the best evidence when they need it most.

To subscribe, visit: infocusvj.org

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