Table 2

Final strategies for EMBASE (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
EMBASE Strategy S1 (Exp Safety/ OR Safe$.ti,ab. OR Err$.ti,ab. OR Adverse.ti,ab) AND [(Exp Health Care Quality/ OR Risk assessment/) OR (exp *Safety/ AND *Medical Practice)]100.00% (95.00%)30.04% (19.52%)86.60% (92.13%)30.04% (18.54%)3 (5)
EMBASE Strategy S2 (Exp Safety/ OR Safe$.ti,ab. OR Err$.ti,ab. OR Adverse.ti,ab) AND [(exp Health Care Quality/ OR ((Exp Safety/ OR Err$.ti,ab) AND . (Exp Health Care Organization/ OR Exp Health Care/ OR Medic$.ti,ab. OR Exp Health Care System/ OR Hospital$.ti,ab.)]98.73% (95.00%)30.23% (19.72%)86.89% (92.23%)29.85% (18.74%)3 (5)
EMBASE Strategy S3 (exp Medical Error/ OR Patient Safety/ OR Exp Iatrogenic disease/) OR [(Exp Safety/ OR Safe$.ti,ab. OR Err$.ti,ab. OR Adverse.ti,ab.) AND[(exp Health Care Quality/) OR (exp *Safety/ AND (Exp Health Care Organization/ OR Exp Health Care/ OR Medic$.ti,ab. OR Exp Health Care System/ OR Hospital$.ti,ab.)]]94.94% (93.33%)27.68% (16.67%)85.72% (90.62%)26.27% (15.56%)4 (6)
The three strategies with the greatest precision
EMBASE Strategy P1 (Exp Safety/ OR Err$.ti,ab.) AND (patient$.ti,ab.) AND (Exp Health Care Organization/ OR Exp Health Care/ OR Medic$.ti,ab. OR Exp Health Care System/ OR Hospital$.ti,ab.)65.82% (53.33%)45.61% (45.71%)95.48% (98.73%)30.02% (24.38%)2 (2)
EMBASE Strategy P2 (Exp Safety/ OR Err$.ti,ab.) AND [(*Patient Care/) OR [(patient$.ti,ab.) AND (Exp Health Care Organization/ OR Exp Health Care/ OR Medic$.ti,ab. OR Exp Health Care System/ OR Hospital$.ti,ab.)]]67.09% (53.33%)44.92% (45.71%)95.27% (98.73%)30.13% (24.38%)2 (2)
EMBASE Strategy P3 (Exp Safety/ OR Err$.ti,ab.) AND [(*Patient Care/) OR [(patient$.ti,ab. OR Human/ OR Human.ti,ab.) AND (Exp Health Care Organization/ OR Health$.ti,ab.)]]68.35% (55%)43.20% (48.53%)94.83% (98.83%)29.53% (26.69%)2 (2)
The three strategies with the best combination of sensitivity and precision
EMBASE Strategy SP1 [(Exp Safety/ OR Err$.ti,ab.) AND (Health Care Quality/)] OR [(Exp Safety/ OR Safe$.ti,ab. OR Err$.ti,ab. OR Adverse.ti,ab.) AND (Exp Health Care Organization/ OR Health$.ti,ab.)]79.75% (81.67%)42.00% (40.50%)93.66% (97.59%)33.49% (33.07%)2 (2)
EMBASE Strategy SP2 (Exp Safety/ OR Safe$.ti,ab. OR Err$.ti,ab. OR Adverse.ti,ab.) AND [(Health Care Quality/ OR ((Exp Safety/ OR Err$.ti,ab.) AND (Exp Health Care Organization/ OR Health$.ti,ab.)]81.01% (85.00%)40.51% (38.93%)93.15% (97.32%)32.82% (33.09%)2 (3)
EMBASE Strategy SP3 (Exp Safety/ OR Safe$.ti,ab. OR Err$.ti,ab. OR Adverse.ti,ab.) AND [Health Care Quality OR (Exp Health Care Organization/ OR Health$.ti,ab.)]87.34% (88.33%)36.51% (35.10%)91.26% (96.72%)31.89% (31.00%)3 (3)
Validation
Strategy derived from Westwood et al in EMBASE10.13% (8.33%)61.54% (71.43%)99.64% (99.93%)6.23% (5.95%)2 (1)