Trip Database Blog

Liberating the literature

Poll results

With just shy of 500 respondents the results of our poll are as follows:

Question 1: Why do you use Trip? (showing all results that scored at least 10%)

  • To find out what the latest research is for a given topic – 24%
  • To answer a clinical Q (raised by patient care but not answered at same time) – 18%
  • I’m an information specialist using Trip to support a health professional – 16%
  • To answer a clinical Q at the point of care – 12%
  • I’m an information specialist carrying out a review (eg to find latest evidence) – 11%
  • I’m a researcher undertaking a review to support a paper and/or research bid – 10%

Question 2: How would you best like to pay for Trip Pro?

  • I’ll get my institute to pay – 34%
  • I’ll never pay for Pro – 32%
  • Annual payment (currently the only option for personal use) – 23%
  • Monthly payment (a proposed alternative for personal subscribers) – 11%

Question 3: What new features would you like to see on Trip?

  • Search suggestions (after a search we suggest additional search terms to help focus the search)? – 35%
  • Mis-spelling function (to detect and correct spelling mistakes)? – 19%
  • Better point of care support (eg adverse drug event, interactions) – 14%
  • Better search results – 10%


Question 1: Surprised by the proportion that use Trip as a point of care tool.  Also, the top reason for using Trip is to locate the latest evidence.  I think we can improve on that!

Question 2: No surprises!

Question 3: Delighted with the top four as we’re working on all 4 of these.  In fact we should be testing the top one shortly.

Question time

Every now and then we like to reach out to our users to try and get insight in to what can help make Trip better.  So, if you don’t mind can you answer these few questions below (tick all the boxes that apply).

These user surveys are important as they help understand how our users would like Trip to develop.  Trip is so much better with user input!


Why you use Trip


New features


Payments for Trip Pro


Finally, we are exploring creating a Trip Community Q&A system.  So, if a user can’t find an answer via Trip they would be able to post the question to the Trip Community.  If you are interested in helping develop this idea then please contact us via  This will not involved much work, simply a way for us to ask your views on how we can best develop a useful system.


Images – easily find articles that are free to use

Medical images on Trip has just got even more useful!  A Twitter user suggested a great feature would be to restrict the images to those that are freely available to use.  In other words, those with liberal (or no) copyright restrictions.  As you’ll see in the image below we have a new tick box, “Only show images that are free to modify, share and use


NOTE: Pro feature only.

Combination search

The combination search is back (for Pro users)!

It went missing when we moved to the new design and it’s taken a while to put it back and integrate it.

Combination search

Each search on Trip (in a single session) is given a number eg #1, #2 etc.  You can then combine these via the ‘Recent’ tab (see image above).  It allows users to fairly easily build up complex searches.

I’m very glad it’s back.


How to use Trip

We have now produced a number of very nice videos on how to get the best out of Trip.  They cover a range of topics such as how to refine your search, PICO search etc.  The full list can be seen on our YouTube Channel.  But I’ve pasted a few examples below.

These videos have already been a big success and so I’m planning to add to these in two main ways:

  • Additional ‘how to’ guides.  If there’s anything you’d like to see then drop me a line or leave a comment.
  • Guided topic search.  ‘How to’ guides are great but sometimes working through an actual search example adds an extra insight.  So, I need some example searches.  I can make my own up but it might be nice to accept searches that people have tried and possibly had sub-optimal results. So, if you have a search you’d like me to work through then again drop me a line or leave a comment.

Now, the example videos…:

Refining your search

The Star function

Regulatory Guidance

Regulatory guidance is content typically published by national (or European) government agencies e.g. FDA, NICE, IQWiG, European Medicines Agency EMA).  It’s a fairly new category of evidence, released in the new design, and most of the content relates to pharmaceutical drugs.  It works like every other category, you search and then click on the ‘Regulatory Guidance’ link in the ‘Refine’ box on the right hand side of the results page, see the two images below.

This is an incredibly powerful feature.  Searching sites like the FDA and EMA can be challenging to say the least and Trip makes it easy.  This content is really useful, featuring additional content not included in journal articles (e.g. see this Brexpiprazole review) and has typically been rigorously assessed by the relevant agency.

Why not try it now with these two canned searches (just click on the link):

Trip – making evidence easy

Reg guidance 1

Reg guidance

Medical images on Trip

Trip’s image search is unique and based on a database of millions of images.  As with all things at Trip it’s designed to be easy to use and still deliver great results.  Access to our images is a ‘Pro’ feature and to see other benefits of ‘Pro’ visit our upgrade page.

Below are four examples of screengrabs for a given search.  For each example you can see the search term used and a sample of the images returned:

xray clavicle  Hip arthoplasty AlopeciaCT stroke


Would you share your knowledge?

Trip’s primary aim is to answer the clinical questions of health professionals.  We’re pretty good, answering over 70% of them.  But what about the remaining 30%?

If you don’t know the answer to a question it’s hard, but if you know the answer it’s easy – it stands to reason.  So, what if Trip allowed users to ask questions they have not been able to answer and forward them to people we think may be able to answer it?

So, a general/family practitioner may have a question on heart failure.  We could allow the user to record their question and we would forward it to people on Trip with an interest in cardiology/heart failure.  One imagines, if the user knows the answer, it’ll only take a short amount of time to post a reply.

The above all makes sense but relies on Trip users sharing their knowledge.  So, an open question – would you? Please let us know via the ‘Sharing Knowledge’ poll below!

The impact of Trip, first quarter 2016

The main purpose of Trip is to improve patient care.  Our approach to achieve this is to support health professionals to answer their clinical questions using the best available evidence. While we’re not perfect we’re pretty good (there’s always room for improvement).  Previous studies have shown that if we look at 1,000 searches of Trip this is how they may break down:

  • 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

So, around 40.8% of searches of Trip result in improved patient care (a whopping 70.7% of the times clinicians come to Trip to get answers to support their care, they get an answer).  While the figures should be taken highly sceptically (we’re written why they may overestimate and underestimate impact) they offer us a reasonable figure to base our impact measurement. Therefore, to approximate the impact of Trip we multiple the number of searches of Trip by 40.77%.

For January-March 2016 we were searched approximately 713,000 times.  Therefore, Trip positively impacted on care around 290,700 times.  The equates to around:

  • 97,000 per month
  • 22,360 per week
  • 3,194 per day

Those figures have got to be seen positively, but why be content with 3,194 per day, why not 50,000 per day?  With the forthcoming changes to Trip (improved search results, answer engine, better content management) this should surely be our goal.

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