Table 1

Final strategies for MEDLINE (performances of the search strategies in the validation gold standard are presented in parentheses)

SensitivityPrecisionSpecificitySensitivity*precisionNo of articles to read
The three strategies with the greatest sensitivity
MEDLINE Strategy S1 (exp Risk Management/ OR exp Quality of Health Care/ OR exp Medical Errors/ OR Safety Management/ OR Medical Audit/)100.00% (100%)8.28% (3.51%)45.56% (59.36%)8.28% (3.51%)12 (28)
MEDLINE Strategy S2 (safe$.ti,ab. OR exp Safety/ OR Err$.ti,ab. OR Adverse.ti,ab.) AND (exp Risk Management/ OR exp Quality of Health Care/ OR exp Medical Errors/ OR Safety Management/ OR Medical Audit/)98.80% (95.31%)29.08% (17.63%)88.17% (93.41%)28.73% (16.80%)3 (6)
MEDLINE Strategy S3 (safe$.ti,ab. OR exp Safety/ OR Err$.ti,ab. OR Adverse.ti,ab.)98.80% (95.31%)25.87% (13.96%)86.09% (91.31%)25.56% (13.30%)4 (7)
The three strategies with the greatest precision
MEDLINE Strategy P1 *Medical Errors/45.78% (75%)51.35% (36.64%)97.87% (98.08%)23.51% (27.48%)2 (3)
MEDLINE Strategy P2 (exp *Medical Errors/ OR *Safety Management/) AND (patient$.ti,ab.)68.67% (50%)51.35% (32%)96.80% (98.43%)35.27% (16%)2 (3)
MEDLINE Strategy P3 (exp *Risk Management/) AND (patient$.ti,ab.)60.24% (42.19%)51.02% (34.18%)97.16% (98.80%)30.74% (14.42%)2 (3)
The three strategies with the best combination of sensitivity and precision
MEDLINE Strategy SP1 (safe$.ti,ab. OR exp Safety/ OR Err$.ti,ab. OR Adverse.ti,ab.) AND (exp *Risk Management/ OR exp *Medical Errors/ OR *Safety Management/)92.77% (95.31%)44.25% (32.111%)94.26% (97.02%)41.05% (30.60%)2 (3)
MEDLINE Strategy SP2 (exp *Medical Errors/ OR *Safety Management/) AND (safe$.ti,ab. OR exp Safety/ OR Err$.ti,ab. OR Adverse.ti,ab.)89.16% (93.75%)44.31% (32.09%)94.50% (97.07%)39.51% (3ss0.08%)2 (3)
MEDLINE Strategy SP3 (safe$.ti,ab. OR exp Safety/ OR Err$.ti,ab. OR Adverse.ti,ab.) AND (exp *Risk Management/ OR exp medical Errors/ OR Safety Management/ OR Medical Audit)95.18% (95.31%)41.15% (28.77%)93.31% (96.51%)39.16% (27.42%)2 (3)
Validation
Strategy derived from Westwood et al in MEDLINE71.08% (75.00%)46.46% (35.29%)95.98% (97.97%)33.02% (26.47%)2 (3)