Shared learning database

Type and Title of Submission


'NICE Bites User Survey': Assessing the value of a monthly bulletin for healthcare professionals in the general implementation of NICE guidance.


This submission reports the results of a user survey for NICE Bites, a monthly bulletin for healthcare professionals published by the North West Medicines Information Service and relates to the general implementation of NICE guidance. The purpose of this bulletin is to provide a clear and succinct summary of key prescribing points in NICE guidance. During the second year of publication a survey was conducted to assess; if the content of this bulletin is useful, relevant to practice, and easily accessible, how people use NICE Bites and if it made any difference to their prescribing practice.


2010-11 Shared Learning examples

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Description of submission


To assess whether the content of a monthly bulletin, NICE Bites is useful, relevant to practice and easily accessible, how it is used and if it impacts prescribing practices in line with NICE guidance.


1) To assess the value of NICE Bites by seeking readers' views. 2) To assess any impact on NICE implementation and prescribing practice. 3) To identify any changes that need to be made to the current format and content of this bulletin. 4) To determine who uses NICE Bites and the extent of distribution.


It was recognised that keeping up-to-date with NICE guidance can be difficult for busy healthcare professionals and that there was a need to provide information tailored to their needs. NICE Bites was first published in January 2009. It was developed through collaboration with medicines management colleagues who wanted to facilitate dissemination of prescribing recommendations in NICE guidance. It is electronically distributed each month to over 500 people including; primary and secondary care pharmacists, community pharmacists, medicines management staff and non-medical prescribers throughout the North West SHA. In addition it is published on the National electronic Library for Medicines at and on the East Lancashire Health Economy Medicines Management Board website at . Following its introduction, requests for addition to the circulation list were received from across the UK indicating that it was being used widely. It was recognised that NICE Bites could be used in a variety of ways to help implement NICE guidance particularly relating to prescribing issues.


A survey was designed to collect the following: demographic data, information on how readers access and distribute the bulletin, format and content, and whether NICE Bites has influenced prescribing practice in line with NICE guidance. The survey was adapted following the results of a pilot survey. Data was collected through the web-based survey between 21st September and 29th October 2010. Readers were signposted to the survey via the NICE Bites email and bulletin in September and October, and via the National electronic Library for Medicines at Results were collated and analysed.

Results and evaluation

160 completed responses were received. 79% of respondents work in England (46% of these in the North West), 10% in Wales, 7% in Northern Ireland and 1% in Scotland. The main professional groups were pharmacists (58%), GPs (16%), nurses (7%) and pharmacy technicians (7%). 38% of respondents are prescribers, 72% work in primary care. These results indicate that NICE Bites is used across the UK and although distributed through pharmacy networks reaches a variety of healthcare professionals. Respondents thought that NICE Bites includes information which is relevant (75%), easy to read (98%) and of an appropriate length (97%). 46% of respondents use NICE Bites in NICE implementation. It is also used as a reference source (86%), for continuing professional development (74%), training (34%), providing information to patients (21%), prescribing committee work (18%), audit (14%) and for incorporation into newsletters and formularies (1-2%). 54% of respondents were prompted to change their practice. 24 respondents gave examples of this including; - increasing use of warfarin for atrial fibrillation (CG36), - switching patients onto a beta-blocker licensed for heart failure (HF) [CG108] - use of a beta-blocker for HF in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease [CG108], - referral of patients with HF for rehabilitation [CG108], - reducing the use of ezetimibe with statin [CG67]. - following hypertension protocol better and being more innovative [CG34] 40% of respondents did not access NICE Bites online; of these 14% were not aware it is available online indicating a lack of awareness of online access. 42% of respondents (n=67) forward NICE Bites to others; by email (80%), inserting a hyperlink in an electronic bulletin (15%) or uploading onto an intranet ( 8%). We asked how many people were included in distribution cascades. From the responses it is estimated that NICE Bites is distributed to over 2,000 people just from these 67 respondents.

Key learning points

It is important to think carefully about your target audience and tailor information to their specific needs, keeping information succinct and relevant. Disseminate information in a timely manner, usually within one month of publication of NICE guidance, and take into account the need for specialist input if any clarification of recommendations is needed. Include quality assurance in the publication process to ensure clarity, consistency and accuracy. Bulletin distribution relies on good local networks.

This submission was shortlisted for the 2011 Shared Learning Award.

View the supporting material

Contact Details

Name:Lindsay Banks
Job Title:Medicines Information Pharmacist
Organisation:North West Medicines Information Service
Address:70 Pembroke Place
Postcode:L69 3GF
Phone:0151 794 8115


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This page was last updated: 10 February 2011

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Accessibility | Cymraeg | Freedom of information | Vision Impaired | Contact Us | Glossary | Data protection | Copyright | Disclaimer | Terms and conditions

Copyright 2014 National Institute for Health and Care Excellence. All rights reserved.