Trip Database Blog

Liberating the literature


November 2009

TRIP and doc2doc

TRIP has a track record in helping clinicians find answers to their questions. However, it would be naive to think it answers all the questions all the time! So, trying to be helpful, we’ve linked in with the BMJ’s clinical community doc2doc. We’ve just ‘opened’ it in the last few days and the BMJ even produced a press release.

The whole idea behind this collaboration is that if a user of TRIP doesn’t find what they’re after they can use the doc2doc forum to obtain an answer. This could come from the wider clinical community on doc2doc or even the TRIP team, who’ll regularly monitor the site and use our experience to help answer the question.

A quick update

I’vew just noticed that it’s been nearly three weeks since the last post. I think that’s a sign of how busy things have been! We’re currently working hard on the next update to TRIP. We’ve got a very tight deadline and lots of things happening at once. Also, as some of the upgrades are significant changes they’re requiring significant work.

The main work is around:

  • CPD – we’re finally putting the finishing touches on our self-test CPD feature, with over 6,000 education packs.
  • TRIP Answers – mainly a redesign, improved search and ‘new research’. This latter feature will automatically highlight new research that may be of interest/update an exisiting question. This is being powered by some semantic technology we’re using.
  • Semantic technology features, too complex to state in this brief post, but one for another time. Think ‘Related articles’ in PubMed…

TRIP on the iPhone (and other smart phones)

A few tweaks of the CSS on TRIP and it works rather well on the iPhone (and Android phones – thanks @amcunningham). See below for some screen shots. The top image is how the icon looks on the start page of the iPhone, below that is the top of the results page and right at the bottom is the bottom of the results page.

As well as looking great it makes TRIP usable on smartphones which is becoming an increasingly important ‘market’.

NOTE: @amcunningham has commented that the pictures are potentially mis-leading. To be clear, what I’ve described is not an ‘app’ it’s simply our site optimised for web-browsing. The top top image shows a bookmarked TRIP icon that takes you to the homepage.

Pretty, Pretty, Pretty and pretty useful!

A TRIP Down Database Lane: A Talk With Jon Brassey

I felt very privileged to be asked by Hope Leman for an interview. The results can be seen on her blog Significant Science and on AltSearchEngines.

One response I think could have been improved on was what aspect of TRIP am I most proud. I’m happy with what I said, but could have added to it. In the 10+ years of TRIP I estimate we’ve been searched around 50 million times. If only 1% of these had resulted in improved patient care for a single individual, that’s half a million people – that is mind-blowing….

But, how does one measure the impact of TRIP? There are many possible reasons for seaching TRIP and many possible outcomes, here are a few:

A clinician with a clinical query, some potential outcomes:

  • They may not find any suitable documents.
  • They may find some documents and find insufficient evidence to help.
  • They may find some documents that support their current care.
  • They may find some documents that support a change in practice.

A student doing a study, some potential outcomes:

  • Finds no articles, poor outcome.
  • Finds useful articles that help in their studies.

An academic researcher undertaking a review or creating a guideline, some potential outcomes:

  • Finds no articles, poor outcome.
  • Finds articles that help improve the review or guideline.

As mentioned the list is not meant to be exhaustive! However, it should illustrate that people come to TRIP for many reasons and there are many potential outcomes.

A small bit of research we carried out in 2007 (click here to see the full post) showed the following:

  • 13% – find the information they wanted all the time
  • 53% – find the information they wanted most of the time
  • 19% – finds the information about half the time
  • 15% – find the information less than half the time

It was a small sample and invariably biased – so may not help much in deciding the impact of TRIP.

If anyone has any bright ideas, please share them!

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