December 2013 - Internet Resources Digest


EBM Search Tools

AIHA Internet Resources Digest
December 2013

Supporting Access to High Quality Online Resources

Spotlight on: EBM Search Tools

Evidence-based approach requires that health care and social work professionals use best available research evidence to answer their questions and apply it to practice. There are literally millions of research reports, journal articles, and other types of published evidence available to them. Choosing the best tool to search is an important decision.

Federated Search Engines

TRIP Database

The TRIP Database searches over 75 sites of high-quality medical information. The TRIP Database is a clinical search tool designed to allow health professionals to rapidly identify the highest quality clinical evidence for clinical practice. You can also use it to find evidence-based publications on many social work topics.

All the best evidence-based publications are searched monthly by experts and indexed fully before being presented in an easy-touse format with access to full-text articles, medical images, patient leaflets and more.

The TRIP Database gives you direct, hyperlinked access to the largest collection of 'evidence-based' material on the web as well as articles from premier on-line journals such as the BMJ, JAMA, NEJM etc. Types of sources searched by TRIP: Evidence Based Synopses, Clinical Questions, Guidelines, ETextbooks, Medical Images, Patient Information Leaflets, Systematic Reviews, Clinical Calculators, Core general medical journals. In the filtering section you can select material that database algorithms have decided are suitable for the developing world.


Epistemonikos is a collaborative, multilingual database of research evidence and knowledge translation products in Evidence-Based Health Care. It searches 19 data bases with evidence-based publications, and it includes systematic reviews, overviews of reviews (including evidence-based policy briefs), primary studies included in systematic reviews and structured summaries of that evidence. Epistemonikos was developed and is maintained by systematically searching PubMed and other databases for relevant systematic reviews and overviews of reviews.

The aim of Epistemonikos is to provide rapid access to systematic reviews in health. A unique feature of Epistemonikos is that it links together systematic reviews, overviews of reviews and primary studies, thus providing a highly efficient method for searching. In addition, it includes translations of the titles and abstracts of included records to facilitate searching in different languages and it is continually updated by searching multiple sources of systematic reviews and overviews of reviews. Epistemonikos is not a comprehensive database of health research. It only includes primary studies that have been included in a systematic review.

ACCESSSS Federated Search

ACCESSSS is designed to find the best evidence-based answer to clinical questions by simultaneously searching the leading evidence-driven medical publications and high quality clinical literature. ACCESSSS is a service from McMaster University to help provide current best evidence for clinical decisions. It conducts literature searches simultaneously in several different evidencebased information services (online evidencebased texts, and pre-appraised journal publications). ACCESSSS also provides email alerts to newly published evidence in the user’s chosen area(s) of training/interest. Registration (free) is required to use the service.

Searching ACCESSSS yields content that is hierarchically organized: Always look first at the content available at the highest level of the hierarchy, as it is most likely to be useful for clinical purposes. The hierarchy is based on principles of evidence-based decision-making:

  • Systems provide patient-specific computerized decision support – “under construction” at present
  • Summaries provide the best summarization of evidence for entire clinical topics (eg asthma, diabetes)
  • Synopses are brief abstracts of high quality original studies and systematic reviews
  • Syntheses are systematic reviews of original studies

Studies are original investigations, such as randomized trials.

AHSL EBM Search Tools

These search engines are made available by efforts of the Arizona Health Sciences Library, as well as the University of Arizona College of Medicine. It is intended to assist the practicing clinician, researcher or student in finding the best evidence to answer clinical questions. The following search engines are available from this page:

  • General EBM Search
  • Emergency Medicine EBM Search
  • Medical Imaging EBM Search
  • Pediatrics EBM Search
  • Surgery/Critical Care EBM Search

NICE Evidence Search

NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, UK) Evidence Search allows users to search for evidence from a wide range of trusted, high quality health and social care sources. The evidence from these sources is added by an automated or a manual process and current lists of these sources are provided. NICE Evidence Services provides free access to selected, quality health and social care evidence and best practice.

Search filters

PubMed Clinical Queries

MEDLINE is a National Library of Medicine database of indexed journal citations and abstracts now covering nearly 5,300 journals published in the United States and more than 70 other countries. MEDLINE citations and abstracts are available as the primary component of NLM's PubMed database. PubMed includes over 20 million citations from MEDLINE and other life science journals for biomedical and related subjects articles back to 1948. PubMed also includes links to full text articles and other related resources

Clinical Queries and Systematic Reviews filters - These specialized search queries are intended for health care practitioners. You can access the Clinical Queries and Systematic Reviews filters from the Clinical Queries link on PubMed's home page.

Both of these built-in search filters limit retrieval to articles that report research done with specific methodologies. Five study categories or filters are provided within Clinical Queries: therapy (default); diagnosis; etiology; prognosis; clinical prediction guides. And the emphasis may be broader e (i.e., most relevant articles but probably some less relevant ones) or narrow (i.e., mostly relevant articles but probably omitting a few).

PubMed Health

PubMed Health is a service provided by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) at the U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM). PubMed Health provides information for consumers and clinicians on prevention and treatment of diseases and conditions. PubMed Health specializes in reviews of clinical effectiveness research, with easy-to-read summaries for consumers as well as full technical reports. Clinical effectiveness research finds answers to the question “What works?” in medical and health care.

PubMed Health is based on systematic reviews of clinical trials. These clinical effectiveness reviews can show what treatments and prevention methods have been proven to work—and what remains unknown. A search on PubMed Health runs simultaneously in PubMed. A filter is used to identify all the indexed scientific articles at the NLM that might be systematic reviews. PubMed Health provides summaries and full texts of selected systematic reviews in one place. The reviews were generally published or updated from 2003. There is also information for consumers and clinicians based on those reviews.


BEME Guide 3. Systematic Searching for Evidence in Medical Education

This guide provides a comprehensive overview of relevant information sources and methods (including bibliographic databases, grey literature, hand searching and the Internet) and describes when they should be consulted. The process of constructing a search is explained.

Grey Matters: a practical search tool for evidence-based medicine

The Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health (CADTH) produces a variety of publications that range from comprehensive systematic reviews and economic evaluations to more concise bulletins and updates. In order to search for and retrieve the evidence base required to produce CADTH reports, the Information Services team has developed a grey literature checklist.

Grey literature includes reports and government information that are not published commercially and that are inaccessible via bibliographic databases. This checklist includes national and international HTA web sites, drug and device regulatory agencies, clinical trial registries, health economics resources, Canadian health prevalence or incidence databases, and drug formulary web sites. Organized by topic, the checklist includes tips on navigating the web sites.

This publication is provided only online because it is a tool for evidence-based searching on the Internet. It is now a useful tool for anyone engaged in searching for HTAs or drug assessments.

AIHA Internet Resources Digest Forthcoming Topics [Provisional] 

  • Telemedicine
  • Online collaboration tools

AIHA Related Resources

Evidence-based practice and policy in LMIC. Internet Resources Digest, January 2013

Applying evidence-based research to clinical practice. Poster pdf

Using evidence-based practice to improve patient care. Poster

Evidence-based Nursing. Internet Resources Digest, July 2012

Point-of-care Tools. Internet Resources Digest, January 2012

About the AIHA Internet Resources Digest

The Internet Resources Digest — previously called the Health Resources Digest — is distributed free of charge as a service of the American International Health Alliance’s Knowledge Management Program thanks to the generous support of the American people through the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). The Knowledge Management Program is implemented through AIHA’s HIV/AIDS Twinning Center Program, which is funded through a cooperative agreement with the US Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA).

The Internet Resources Digest is compiled by Irina Ibraghimova, PhD, Library and Information Management Specialist, HealthConnect International ( The contents are the responsibility of AIHA and do not necessarily reflect the views of PEPFAR, HRSA, or the United States Government. 

If you have a suggestion for a Digest topic, or would like to contribute information about Internet resources, please contact ibra[at]

Back issues of the Internet Resources Digest for 2011-2013 are archived at

If this document is to be redistributed or posted on another Web site, we request that it be posted in full without alteration, and credit is given to the AIHA as the source of the document. 


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