Consumer health information provider, BMJ BestTreatments, has officially launched its public website saying the service is proving a great hit with patients.

A spokesperson for the service told E-Health Insider: “The site has been available for a while, but we needed to find a point at which to launch it. We have recently revamped it and made it much more navigable.”

BestTreatments is a non-profit service derived from BMJ Clinical Evidence, the service for doctors which provides the latest evidence on a wide range of conditions. Both are published by the British Medical Journal Group.

BestTreatments editor, Cherill Hicks, explained: “We have translated the information doctors use – a resource called Clinical Evidence – into a patient’s version. So it contains the latest, evidence-based research, but in jargon-free terms.

“Crucially, is impartial – not sponsored by drug companies for instance – so patients know they are getting impartial advice on which treatments work and which don’t.”

In addition to offering information on a wide range of conditions, the site has a ‘decision support’ section which helps users to look at ways of working with doctors, make the best decisions about treatments and understand risk.

Its publishers say the service will not shy away from awkward issues such as whether over-the-counter medicines for certain conditions are worth the money or whether procedures such as grommet insertion for children really cure ear infections.

Feedback from users who have visited the site so far is positive. Patients have said it is easy to understand but not condescending and gives them confidence to ask their doctor quesions.

The spokesperson said when doctors saw patients who had looked up information on BestTreatments, they would be aware that the material came from Clinical Evidence and assured about the source.

She said the plan for the future was to update the site frequently with the most up to date evidence on conditions and to continue to expand the body of information as far as possible.