Primary Health Care (PHC) Search Filter: Bringing the evidence to shore
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Surfing the internet for primary health care (PHC) literature produces waves of information that can lead a researcher to feel as though they are drowning in papers. Sifting through material to find the oysters containing pearls can be a complex task. With the PHC literature and evidence base rapidly increasing, Flinders Filters and the Primary Health Care Research & Information Service collaborated on a project to develop a search filter designed to facilitate easier access to this pool of PHC resources, by enabling efficient and effective retrieval of relevant literature. The PHC Search Filter was developed in the Ovid Medline platform with an extensive methodology comprising five phases including: constructing a gold standard set of PHC-specific articles; identifying relevant index terms and textwords; testing combinations of search terms; assessing the search strategy which performed most effectively; and translating the filter for use in PubMed to enable ‘one click searching’. This presentation will introduce the PHC Search Filter, addressing its development and showcasing the tool through an audiovisual ‘how to’ segment. In addition, the presentation will report on a mixed-methods study used to evaluate the Filter, four months after its launch. This evaluation involved extensive advertising of an online survey with individuals invited to participate regardless of whether they had used the Filter or not. With 90 respondents, the survey provided details about the overarching benefits and positive response to the tool, and directions for further refinement of the Filter. The key findings from the evaluation noted that 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 evidence into policy and practice.