Friday, November 12, 2010

The impact of TRIP

Earlier this week we created a short survey to try and understand what impact TRIP might have on patient care. There were 4 questions:
  • On average, how often do you search TRIP each month?
  • Do you ever use TRIP for helping you manage your patients or yourself?
  • On average, what percentage of your searches are related to patient care?
  • Of those searches that you use for improving patient care or your own care what percentage do you find TRIP actually helps?
We linked to the survey from two places: As a link from the TRIP Database and also from our various social media 'outlets' - Facebook, Twitter and this Blog. 

The results were very similar across both data collection methods.  For the sake of clarity I'll show an average result and in brackets place the separate results from TRIP and then from the social media:

  • 14.4 searches (17.2, 11.5)
  • 79.1% (74.2, 83.9)
  • 72.9% (74.3, 71.5)
  • 70.7% (72.3, 69.0)
So, what do all these figures mean? 

Firstly, the methodology is far from ideal, so the results are speculative/dubious.  However, I feel reassured that the figures have been relatively stable from very early on in the data collection.

If we wanted to work out the impact of say 1,000 searches here's how I've approached it:
  • 1000 searches of which 79.1% are from users who manage patients or are patients themselves = 791 searches
  • Of these 791 searches, 72.9% relate to patient care = 576.6
  • Of these 576.6 searches, 70.7% help improve patient care = 407.7
In other words 40.8% of searches on TRIP result in improved patient care.  That's significantly higher than our estimates and also, what I think is equally significant, is that 70.7% of users actually find TRIP is useful for patient care.

What is clearly needed is some more research (I typically hate seeing that in the discussion of a research article) to try and get a more accurate figure for TRIP's impact and I'd welcome any comments on the most appropriate methodology.

But, in the interim, I'm happy (with the above reservations) to say that 40.8% of searches on TRIP help improve patient care


Hannah Prince said...

Hi Jon - good result there, but I wonder if you're missing some extra contribution to patient care from non-clinical healthcare staff using TRIP?
I'm a healthcare librarian & use TRIP to search for information which I give to clinicians who then use it in patient care. I did the survey, but couldn't say that I used it to manage patients' or my own health, so my response is one of the 20.9% who said "no" to that question.
I wonder how many of the rest of the 20.9 are also librarians, managers or researchers whose work contributes to patient care at one remove? Could be you have more impact again?

Jon Brassey said...

Hi Hannah,

Thanks for the comment. I'll get round to writing a follow-up article as I think there are reasons why the figure is too low and too high!

You've highlighted a reason why it's too low. However, another argument is that the participants are self-selecting ie those with a favourable view of TRIP are more likely to particpate.

But, with limited resource it's difficult to be accurate. So, it's an approximation. As long as we're transparent then I'm happy to use the 40.7 but being clear why the figure is likely to be wrong!!!!!