BMJ Best Practice Comorbidities tool

by Roxanne MacMillan on 2021-07-27T11:55:00-03:00 | 0 Comments

A recent study, based on data from the 2015-16 Canadian Community Health Survey, found that about 33% of Canadians over the age of 12 have two or more chronic diseases. That statistic increases to more than 66% for Canadians over the age of 65 (Geda, Janzen, & Pahwa, 2021).

Treating patients with multiple chronic conditions can be challenging. When making clinical decisions, health care professionals must understand how multiple conditions and their treatments interact. BMJ Best Practice’s new Comorbidities tool can help!

Introduced in September 2020, the Comorbidities tool supports you in “treat[ing] the whole patient” (BMJ Best Practice, 2020) and enables hospitals to:

  • Improve patient outcomes
  • Reduce costs
  • Avoid unnecessary treatments
  • Reduce length of stays

(BMJ Best Practice, 2020)

Using the Comorbidities tool

Let’s look at how you could use the Comorbidities tool in the following scenario:

A 70-year-old woman presents at the ED with acute heart failure. You learn from her family that she also has hypertension and COPD. You need to decide quickly how to treat her acute condition while considering her pre-existing conditions.

Using the desktop or mobile version of BMJ Best Practice, search for ‘acute heart failure’ by typing it in the search bar (1) or selecting it from a list in the Comorbidities tab (2).

The Comorbidities tool may be found on the right-hand side of the Summary page (3) or appear in a pop-up window. Check the boxes for each of the patient’s comorbidities (4), then click on Show treatment algorithm (5).

You can expand each section of the treatment algorithm to view treatment options (6). Options that are affected or added as a result of the patient’s comorbidities, will be indicated by the Comorbidities icon  (7). Click on each treatment option for further details (8).

BMJ Best Practice, including the Comorbidities tool, is available 24/7 to support you in making informed clinical decisions.

  • To access the desktop version, visit our Databases A-Z page.
  • To download the app, visit Library Service’s Mobile Apps & Resources guide. You will need to create a free personal account using the desktop version before you can use the app.

For more information about the BMJ Best Practice Comorbidities tool, or any of Nova Scotia Health Library Services’ point-of-care tools, book a consultation with a library staff member, or email us at AskLibrary@nshealth.ca.


BMJ Best Practice.(2020, September 9). Introducing the Comorbidities tool from BMJ Best Practice. https://bestpractice.bmj.com/info/introducing-the-comorbidities-tool-from-bmj-best-practice/

Geda, N.R., Janzen, B. & Pahwa, P.(2021). Chronic disease multimorbidity among the Canadian population: prevalence and associated lifestyle factors. Archives of Public Health, 79(1), 1-11. https://doi.org/10.1186/s13690-021-00583-7

Roxanne MacMillan

Librarian Educator
Dickson Building, Central Zone

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