FAQ

1) How frequently is the TRIP Database updated?

This varies. Our news is updated hourly, the content automatically extracted from PubMed (most of the primary research material) is updated weekly while the remainder is updated on amonthly basis. However, we frequently re-index complete publications and these tend to occur sporadically throughout the month. This helps ensure TRIP remains the internet’s leading resource for evidence based medicine.

2) What is the involvement of pharmaceutical companies in TRIP Database?

The TRIP Database is firmly committed to the principles of evidence based medicine. As such any involvement with pharmaceutical companies is on the principle of no influence on TRIP. We are passionate about our independence from all external sources (pharmaceutical, governments or other) and these, in no way, influence the development and delivery of our services.

As to the actual involvement we allow some to use our meta-data in their own information systems. We also supply content to others.

However, to re-iterate, we are a site committed to the principles of evidence based medicine. As such we will not allow our independence to be compromised.

3) How do you select content?

The content of the TRIP Database is identified using a variety of methods, all sympathetic to the principles of evidence based medicine. Initially, all records were identified using Netting the Evidence (www.shef.ac.uk/scharr/ir/netting), itself a site dedicated to evidence based medicine. However, as the site grew additional methods were found to identify new sources. This includes systematic searches of the internet, reports in the literature, self-reporting by site owners and other recommendations. Another important method is to liase with clinical question answering services such as the ATTRACT service (www.attract.wales.nhs.uk) to see what quality resources they use to answer clinical questions. If they are finding a resource clinically useful we endeavour to incorporate the content into the TRIP Database.

We have started working with the Department of Family Medicine at Laval University, Quebec, Canada to help identify and appraise sites in a more systematic manner. The current tool for evaluating sites is being re-evaluated to include new resources and favour a more global audience. This Directory of Clinical Information Websites (http://www.ebmsources.fmed.ulaval.ca) is a web-based tool created and maintained by the Department of Family Medicine at Laval University. The Directory, offered in English and French, features over 100 critically appraised websites that mainly offer critically appraised topics (CATs) or original articles, systematic reviews and clinical practice guidelines (CPGs). All sites listed in the Directory are assessed and described using a validated evaluation instrument. Once a site has been identified as potentially useful it is then assessed by an in-house team of information experts and clinicians and external experts to assess quality and clinical usefulness. If the site passes this additional test we start the process of ‘grabbing’ content

Finally, TRIP have recently created an advisory board with wide representation. One role they have is advise of new resources and we will utilise this group more heavily as group matures.

4) Can we use your (meta) data for our search services

The TRIP Database content is used in a number of other information systems. We have recently introduced a SOAP system to facilitate this but have also created a number of other, bespoke, methods of integration. Contact us for more information.

5) Where are you based?

We are based in South Wales, UK

6) Where can I learn more about using the TRIP Database?

If you have any questions, just ask, we like to hear from users.

7) Why, how and when did the TRIP Database search start?

The TRIP Database started in 1997 as a result of the work of the founders (Jon Brassey and Dr Chris Price) in evidence based medicine, principally in answering clinical questions. One of the remits of answering the clinical questions was to return them in a clinically relevant time frame. As well as being quick the clinical questions needed to be answered using the best available evidence. Therefore, to identify the best evidence involved moving from website to website in order to identify relevant material. If each site took 5 minutes to search and 12 websites were examined it added an hour to the search time. If all the content were searchable at one website it would significantly improve the search time. Initially, a manual search of each evidence-based site was undertaken with titles, URL and year of publication recorded in a spreadsheet. Shortly afterwards a chance conversation led to the spreadsheet being converted to a crude web-based search engine.

8) What is the significance of the pyramid logo?

The use of a pyramid is used frequently in evidence-based medicine. Hayne’s used it in his work (see http://ebm.bmjjournals.com/cgi/content/full/6/2/36) as have a number of others (e.g. http://www.healthsystem.virginia.edu/internet/library/collections/ebm/pyramid.cfm) These generally demonstrate a hierarchy of material with a relatively small amount of best evidence at the top gradually decreasing in quality while increasing in number. The different colours help users to easily pick out the relative quality of the results.

9) What stimulates the continual upgrade to the TRIP Database?

There are three main inputs regarding change on the site:

1) User feedback. We receive, and welcome, feedback from users asking about features they’d like to see. We record these and at upgrade time we review these to see how they might fit in.

2) Clinical question answering. TRIP Database Ltd has much experience in answering real clinical questions and the TRIP Database is the core tool for answering these questions. So experience in answering questions using the TRIP Database gives continual quality checks. Our staff are always keen to have the best tool for their job – so feedback on useful features, content is invaluable feedback

3) TRIP Advisory Board. The board was set-up in 2009 and the role is to help move TRIP forward with regard to its development.

10) What is your advertising policy?

We have an exclusive advertising arrangement with an advert agency – contact us for further details.