Jonathan Belsey

Independent Researcher

Author of: What is evidence-based medicine?

Dr Jonathan Belsey is an independent researcher in evidence-based medicine and health economics who provides specialist research, analytical and training services to the health care sector. Originally a GP, in the early 1990s he made a career move into Public Health, where he developed an interest in the use of complex clinical datasets to model health and economic outcomes

Since 1996, he has run a commercial consultancy, providing data analysis and educational marketing materials for a wide range of customers in the fields of pharmaceuticals, medical devices and disease management.  The company specialises in the evaluation and analysis of trials and clinical meta-data to inform the development of epidemiological and economic models to support evidence-based healthcare decision making. He has published extensively in the field, in addition to contributing to a wide range of HTA submissions in the UK and Europe.

Summary: What is evidence-based medicine?

  • Evidence-based medicine (EBM) is the process of systematically reviewing, appraising and using clinical research findings to aid the delivery of optimum clinical care to patients.
  • EBM forms part of the multifaceted process of assuring clinical effectiveness, the main elements of which are:
    • Production of evidence through research and scientific review
    • Production and dissemination of evidence-based clinical guidelines
    • Implementation of evidence-based, cost-effective practice through education and management of change
    • Evaluation of compliance with agreed practice guidance through clinical audit and outcomes-focused incentives.
  • In 1996, the primary purpose of the NHS was defined as ‘… to secure through the resources available the greatest possible improvement to the physical and mental health of the nation’, a view that has formed the basis of clinical resource allocation ever since, with formal health technology assessment mechanisms dictating priorities throughout the UK.
  • Using the formal assessment of the strength and weight of clinical and economic evidence, bodies such as the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) and All Wales Medicines Strategy Group (AWMSG) encourage both individual healthcare professionals and NHS trusts to use treatments that have been proven to be both clinically and cost-effective, while disinvesting from practice that does not meet these objectives.