15 January 2013

Power TRIPping: EBM Searching Revamped

 I was looking back through my blog posts and I realized I have neglected to devote a post exclusively to the TRIP Database.  What an oversight! The Librarian in me hangs my head in shame.  Slightly dramatic you say? Not so: this is one of the first 'free' databases I came across as a Medical Librarian and remains one of the best.  It's a clinical search engine with the ever-favorite 'natural language search bar' (Google-like!).  So what right?  Well let me build the suspense a moment... for one: all you would-be Librarian brains, those who love to organize, colour coordinate, are slightly obsessive compulsive, or even for those of you who simply prefer things to be visual, one of the best features is how the results are compiled, sorted and displayed.  Those in the health care field will likely have come across the pyramid of evidence at some point but just in case let's look at one version below.
Isn't it lovely with all it's pretty colours and nicely defined sections?  It's a great diagram for simplifying the often complex topic of Evidence Based Medicine.  Do you see where I'm leading with this?  If you've got a bad case of Monday-morning brain let me put it altogether for you: TRIP's first pièce de résistance is its results display. It breaks it down for you in an EBM-styled, colour coordinated fashion!  Only looking for Canadian Clinical Guidelines on Gestational Diabetes?  Easy-peasy, just click (categorized green) the link on the right. So end-user friendly, it makes that Librarian in me beam.

Let's say colour coordination and EBM categorization is not enough to woo you, there's one more thing that sets TRIP apart.  Recently they revamped their whole look and interface and with it added a wonderful new search tool called a PICO search.  Again for those working in health care you likely have heard of PICO but if not it's an EBM tool for breaking down a clinical question (P: Patient, Population, Problem; I: Intervention; C: Comparison; O: Outcome).  It's great for really getting to the core results you need.  TRIP's PICO search allows the user to do just that, search through a PICO framework!

It's likely more clear now why I started off my post and my oversight with my head hanging in shame.  TRIP is a great and innovative resource definitely worth one of the top spots on my list of free quality databases.  Check it out for yourself at www.tripdatabase.com 

Now back to being a legitimate Librarian...