Finding the Integrated Care Evidence Base in PubMed and Beyond: A Bibliometric Study of the Challenges

Suzanne Lewis, Raechel A. Damarell, Jennifer J. Tieman, Camilla Trenerry

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)
48 Downloads (Pure)


Introduction: Integrated care research evidence should be optimally visible and accessible to stakeholders. This study examines the contribution of specific databases to the discovery of integrated care evidence, and tests the usefulness of Medical Subject Heading (MeSH) indexing of this literature within PubMed. Methods: We used bibliometric methods to analyse the integrated care literature indexed within six databases between 2007 and 2016. An international expert advisory group assessed the relevance of citations randomly retrieved from PubMed using MeSH term ‘Delivery of Health Care, Integrated’. Results: Integrated care evidence is diffuse, spread across many journals. Between 2007 and 2016, intgrated care citations grew substantially, with the rate of increase highest in Embase. PubMed contributes the largest proportion of unique citations (citations not included in any of the other databases analysed), followed by Embase, PsycINFO and CINAHL. On average, expert reviewers rated 42.5% of citations retrieved by MeSH term ‘Delivery of Health Care, Integrated’ as relevant to integrated care. When these citations were dual reviewed, inter-rater agreement was low. Conclusion: MeSH terms alone are insufficient to retrieve integrated care content from PubMed. Embase and CINAHL contain unique content not found in PubMed that should not be overlooked. A validated search filter is proposed to simplify the process of finding integrated care research for clinicians, managers and decision-makers.

Original languageEnglish
Article number11
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Integrated Care
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2018

Bibliographical note

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC-BY 4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. See © 2018 The Author(s).


  • Bibliometrics
  • Integrated care research
  • Literature searching
  • PubMed
  • Search filters


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