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Health Care Databases

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Which database to use | How to get access

Medicine is an important part of our life, and that is why it is so important to constantly learn and read various materials related to pros and cons for homework and other inspiring topics.


The Allied and Alternative Medicine Database (AMED) is produced by the Health Care Information Service of the British Library. Its subject coverage includes: complementary medicine, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, rehabilitation, podiatry and palliative care.
Access: Available through NHS Evidence. Athens password required.


British Nursing Index (BNI)
Contains references (no abstracts) from over 200 British and English language nursing-related journals.
Access: Available through NHS Evidence. Athens password required.


Cumulative Index to Nursing & Allied Health (CINAHL). Coverage of the literature related to nursing and allied health. More than 500 journals are regularly indexed and abstracts are available for more than 150 of these.
Available through NHS Evidence. Athens password required.

Cochrane Library
Comprises the following databases: Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, DARE, Cochrane Controlled Trials Register, NHS Economic Evaluation Database and the Health Technology Assessment Database. 
Access:  Available through NHS Evidence. Athens password required.


EMBASE is a biomedical and pharmaceutical database covering over 3500 international journals. Similar in many ways to Medline, but with a more European and pharmaceutical emphasis .
Access: Available through NHS Evidence. Athens password required.


Health Business Elite
This health promotion database covers hospital management, marketing, technology and insurance.
Access: EBSCO access.

Free access to full text records from the King's Fund and Department of Health archived from 1979.
Access: Available through NHS Evidence


Produced by the U.S. National Library of Medicine. MEDLINE encompasses information from Index Medicus, Index to Dental Literature, and International Nursing Index, as well as other sources in the areas of allied health, biological and physical sciences, humanities and information science as they relate to medicine and health care, communication disorders, population biology, and reproductive biology. 
Access: Available through NHS Evidence. Athens password required.


PsycINFO covers literature, relevant to psychology  from 1887-present and contains more than 1.5 million references to journal articles, books, book chapters, technical reports, and dissertations. In addition to "core" psychology topics such as personality or mental health, PsycINFO contains abstracts on behavioural topics from related disciplines. You can find references about health care, education, business, organizational behaviour, consumer behaviour, criminal justice, artificial intelligence, and many more.
Available through NHS Evidence. Athens password required.


Transfusion Evidence Library
This is the definitive resource for high-quality evidence-based information on all aspects of transfusion medicine.
Access: Available through NHS Evidence.

Which database to useup 
  • You just want some references to journal articles!

 In this case, the best databases to start with would be:

  • Medline or EMBASE (for medical topics)
  • CINAHL or the British Nursing Index (for nursing and midwifery topics)
  • PsycINFO (for psychiatry and psychology related topics)

Otherwise, you may need to ask the following questions…

  • What type of material are you looking for?

Different databases retrieve different types of information. Some will give you a list of references to journal articles, others will give you systematic reviews or official publications in full text form.

Each entry in the A – Z list gives a rough idea of what type of information you can expect to retrieve from that database.

  • What subject does your search cover?

This is a rough guide to what databases cover which subjects. There is substantial overlap, so for example, articles on complementary therapies may also be found in CINAHL and PsycINFO, and systematic reviews may be found in Medline. 

Allied Health

Complementary Therapies

Evidence-Based Health Care
Cochrane Library

Medicine (General)

British Nursing Index (BNI)

Official Publications

Social Care
Social Care Institute of Excellence

Systematic Reviews
Cochrane Library

How to get accessup

NHS staff can register for an Open Athens password to gain access to databases outside the library. Please ask in the library for further details or go to NHS Evidence Journals and Databases to self register.

Alternatively please ask for the password to get access to NHS Evidence databases in the Library.

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A-Z Index | Content disclaimer

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Last updated 1st May 2018