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Welcome (Editorial)

This is a very important month for Bandolier , because November sees some 6,000 new readers in the West Midlands Region. So for the newcomers, a few words about Bandolier .

Bandolier is now into its fourth year. It was started as an experiment in the former Oxford Region. The idea was to give a mixed group of readers (who used to be called "purchasers") information on those things which were known to be effective, and those which were not. It set out to précis information from systematic reviews, meta-analyses and randomised trials. These "bullet points" of information are stored in a bandolier.

Bandolier was then bought by more regions for distribution, and now about 30,000 people see it every month. Our Internet site (which has all issues of Bandolier and much more besides) has over 150,000 visits to its pages every month.

Time and understanding

Most healthcare professionals are reckoned to do about 30 minutes of reading every week. So complicated statistics are out, and messages about outcomes which are understandable to professionals and public are in. The number-needed-to-treat (NNT) is a straightforward way of presenting information about desirable clinical outcomes of treatments, and Bandolier uses it a lot. A whole issue of Bandolier was given over to the calculation and use of NNTs ( Bandolier 36 ).

In this issue NNTs have been used in a review of homeopathy , on a nurse-led intervention to prevent subsequent readmission in childhood asthma , and for an intervention to prevent homelessness .

Trying new things

Bandolier is certain only that it doesn't know enough. There must be better ways of doing things. In diagnosis, the use of likelihood ratios rather than sensitivity and specificity has helped concentrate the mind in making diagnoses. There isn't a huge amount of information out there, but this month we review some information on diagnosing anaemia.

Then again, how do you get over the idea of risk to people? There is a suggestion this month . But it is a suggestion, and Bandolier encourages correspondence from readers, and participation in seeking better ways forward.



does not see itself in any light other than being a signpost - suggesting good routes to better practice. We do hope to be a reflective signpost, though, and try to respond to readers' suggestions and comments.

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