Facilitating access to evidence: Primary Health Care Search Filter

Lynsey Brown, Amanda Carne, Petra Bywood, Elisabeth McIntyre, Raechel Damarell, Mikaela Lawrence, Jennifer Tieman

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    8 Citations (Scopus)


    Background: The evidence base developed by, and relevant to, primary health care (PHC) is rapidly increasing. With the wealth of literature available, searchers trying to find PHC-specific citations can feel overwhelmed. Objectives: Flinders Filters and the Primary Health Care Research & Information Service collaborated to develop a search filter enabling efficient and effective retrieval of relevant PHC literature. Methods: Stage 1 involved developing a PHC Search Filter in the OvidSP Medline platform using a rigorous experimental methodology. The search filter was then translated for Web-based 'one-click searching' in PubMed during Stage 2. Stage 3 involved planning and implementing a mixed-methods evaluation. Results: The search filter sensitivity was 77.0% with a post hoc relevance assessment of 78.3%. Four months after its launch, a mixed-methods study evaluated the PHC Search Filter. With 90 respondents, analysis of data from the online survey demonstrated overarching benefits, a positive response to the tool and directions for further refinement of the PHC Search Filter. Discussion: Designing the PHC Search Filter followed an established method that ensures the tool offers a validated search strategy. Evaluation results suggest that the PHC Search Filter is a useful tool that is easy to navigate. Challenges for the Filter relate to access to full text articles, while challenges for the evaluation relate to the small sample size. Conclusions: The PHC Search Filter reduces the burden associated with literature searching, increases the value of the results that are received and provides a useful resource to improve the likelihood of incorporating relevant evidence into policy and practice.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)293-302
    Number of pages10
    JournalHealth Information and Libraries Journal
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2014


    • Evidence-based practice
    • Information management
    • Information storage and retrieval
    • Primary health care


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