Background Exhaustive search strategies (ESS) for updating clinical practice guidelines (CPGs) recommendations are laborious and expensive. Highly sensitive and specific alternative search strategies are necessary to improve the efficiency in recommendations updating.
Objectives To compare alternative search strategies against ESS
Methods We ran three different search strategies in a convenience sample of four CPGs from the CPGs National Programme in Spain: 1) Original ESS (gold standard); 2) Search strategy in the McMaster Premium LiteratUre Service (PLUS) database; and 3) Restrictive strategy with the least number of MeSH terms and text words from the original ESS. We retrieved the key references (which triggered an update) from the original ESS and evaluated their presence in the PLUS and restrictive strategies results. We calculated the sensitivity, specificity, precision, and accuracy for the PLUS and restrictive strategies compared to the ESS.
Results The overall number of references in the PLUS strategy was lower than in the ESS (39,133 versus 2,635). The PLUS strategy retrieved a range of 1.12% to 12.1% of the total number of references retrieved by the ESS per guideline.
Discussion Our project assessed two novel restrictive search strategies for the updating of CPGs, which could reduce the workload while displaying similar results. Full final findings of this project will be presented at the GIN meeting.
Implications for Guideline Developers/Users Our project has important implications for updating CPGs, informing on the feasibility and efficiency of two novel search strategies.
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