I’m really pleased to announce a new feature to TRIP, one we’ve been working on for a while now.  It also supports one of the major requests from the recent survey – help us refine our search (which was the 3rd most requested improvement).  This new feature is not our only answer to search refinement but it’s a great start.

The new feature allows users to refine search by clinical area.  So, you can do a search for – say – measles and then restrict these results to neurology documents.  The results will then be restricted to those articles that are related to both measles and the broad area of neurology.

How does this affect the results?  The first set of 3 results (below) are when you do a search for measles while the second set of results are the top 3 results when searching for measles and restricting to neurology.

Measles (top 3 results)

  • Antibiotics for preventing complications in children with measles (Cochrane)
  • Vitamin A for treating measles in children (Cochrane)
  • Routine vitamin A supplementation for the prevention of blindness due to measles infection in children (Cochrane)

Measles restricted to Neurology (top 3 results)

  • Measles-mumps-rubella-varicella combination vaccine and the risk of febrile seizures (Pediatrics)
  • Measles virus-specific plasma cells are prominent in subacute sclerosing panencephalitis CSF (Neurology)
  • MMR vaccination and febrile seizures: evaluation of susceptible subgroups and long-term prognosis (JAMA)

But the best way to see the power is to simply give it a go and try it out.  I really am pleased with it.

To help you orientate yourself, the picture below shows you were to find it!

How does it work?

Another significant piece of feedback from the survey was one of transparency – how does TRIP work.  So, this seems a good start at being more transparent.

We have over 25 clinical categories in TRIP (e.g. cardiology, oncology) and we started by creating a long list of keywords/terms associated with that clinical area.  For instance, the following words are some example terms associated with cardiology: atrial fibrillation, cholesterol, hypertension.  In total we have identified 334 cardiology terms (we’re not claiming it’s exhaustive).  What we have done is cross check each document title in TRIP (NOTE: title words only) with all the category words to assign clinical categories to each document.  A document can have multiple categories.  For instance a document called ‘Prostate cancer screening in the elderly‘ would be assigned to urology, oncology and geriatrics.

When someone does a search on TRIP we examine all the returned documents and build a category filter based on the assigned clinical categories (most popular at the top).  By clicking on a single category the documents are restricted to that category. 

NOTE: the category ‘Primary care‘ is an exception as we cannot find suitable keywords to adequately identify suitable documents.  These are therefore assigned manually each month.  This started relatively recently so the cohort of suitable documents is small at present.

Finally, given the nature of the methods used we do not claim that it’s foolproof.  The system will invariably miss some documents and include some documents that it shouldn’t.  Those minor irritants aside it’s still really powerful – enjoy.

I hope this all makes sense, if not get in touch via jon.brassey@tripdatabase.com

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