Background: Research has shown that many healthcare professionals have problems with guidelines as they would prefer to be given all relevent information relevent to decision-making rather than being told what they should do. This study assesses doctors' judgement of the validity, relevance, clarity and usability of the Italian translation of Clinical Evidence (CE) after its free distribution launched by the Italian Ministry of Health. Methods: Opinions elicited using a standardised questionnaire delivered either by mail or during educational or professional meetings. Results: Twenty percent (n = 1350) doctors participated the study. Most of them found CE's content valid, useful and relevant for their clinical practice, and said CE can foster communications among clinicians, particularly among GPs and specialists. Hospital doctors (63%) more often than GPs (48%) read the detailed presentation of individual chapters. Twenty-nine percent said CE brought changes in their clinical practice. Doctors appreciated CE's nature of an evidence-based information compendium and would have not preferred a collection of practice guidelines. Conclusions: Overall, the pilot initiative launched by the Italian Ministry of Health seems to have been well received and to support the subsequent decision to make the Italian edition of Clinical Evidence concise available to all doctors practising in the country. Local implementation initiatives should be warranted to favour doctor's use of CE.
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