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Evidence Based Medicine: Clinical Filters

This guide is designed to assist health care professionals and students become effective and efficient users of the medical literature.

Clinical Search Filters

EBM Pyramid

 

A method for improving the retrieval of high quality studies applicable to clinical practice is to include search terms that select studies at advanced stages of testing for clinical application. Including one, or a combination of these terms, in a MEDLINE search strategy will selectively retrieve evidence-based literature that is more likely to answer clinical questions.

Clinical Queries


PubMed, a National Library of Medicine platform for searching MEDLINE, has a special search feature called Clinical Queries.  Within Clinical Queries, three types of filters are featured: Clinical Study Categories, Systematic Reviews, and Medical Genetics.

The Clinical Study Categories filter searches on questions of therapy, diagnosis, etiology, prognosis, or clinical prediction guides by looking for the highest levels of evidence in the literature.  These filters can also be limited to a broad or narrow scope.  Clinical filters are imposed behind the scenes by the search engine based on the work of B. Haynes, et al, on the best strategies for retrieving clinically relevant information from MEDLINE. Table of Clinical Filters

The Systematic Reviews filter searches for citations identified as systematic reviews, meta-analyses, reviews of clinical trials, evidence-based medicine, consensus development conferences, guidelines, and citations to articles from journals specializing in review studies of value to clinicians. Search Details  

The Medical Genetics filter searches for citations on seven different topics in medical genetics (diagnosis, differential diagnosis, clinical description, management, genetic counseling, molecular genetics, or genetic testing) or a combination of all topics in medical genetics.  Search Details

PubMed's Related Citations Feature

PubMed has another unique feature, called Related citations, which contributes to getting the most out of MEDLINE. The Related citations function will retrieve additional related articles based on an algorithm of key words and Medical Subject Headings.  See Details on the Search Algorithm.

The Related citations are displayed in the right-hand column when you are viewing a PubMed citation.

Clinical Filters for MEDLINE Searches

 

Therapy Problems

  • The best single term strategy is Randomized Controlled Trial [pt]

MeSH [MeSH]

Publication Type [pt]

Subheading [sh]

Text Word [tw]

Double Blind Method [MeSH]

Treatment Outcome [MeSH]

Randomized Controlled Trial [pt]

Controlled Clinical Trial [pt]

Clinical Trial [pt]

Meta-Analysis [pt]

Multicenter Study [pt]

Therapy [sh]

Placebo* [tw]

Random* [tw]


Diagnosis Problems

  • The single best search term is Sensitivity and Specificity [MeSH]

MeSH [MeSH]

Publication Type [pt]

Subheading [sh]

Sensitivity and Specificity [MeSH]

Comparative Study [MeSH]

Differential Diagnosis [MeSH]

False Negative Reactions [MeSH]

False Positive Reactions [MeSH]

Predictive Value of Tests [MeSH]

Clinical Trial [pt]

Meta-Analysis [pt]

Diagnosis [sh]

Prognosis Problems

MeSH [MeSH]

Title Word [ti]

Cohort Studies [MeSH]

Disease Progression [MeSH]

Morbidity [MeSH]

Mortality [MeSH]

Outcome Assessment [MeSH]

Prognosis [MeSH]

Survival Analysis [MeSH]

Course [ti]

Etiology Problems

MeSH [MeSH]

Publication Type [pt]

Subheading [sh]

Text Word [tw]

Case-Control Studies [MeSH]

Causality [MeSH]

Cohort Studies [MeSH]

Comparative Study [MeSH]

Follow-up Studies [MeSH]

Risk [MeSH]  (Explode)

Longitudinal Studies [MeSH]

Randomized Controlled Trial [pt]

Meta-Analysis [pt]

Etiology [sh]

Odds [tw] AND Ratio* [tw]

Risk [tw]


Questions of Harm

MeSH [MeSH] Publication Type [pt] Subheading [sh] Text Word [tw]

Risk [MeSH]  (Explode)

Consensus Development Conference [pt]

Consensus Development conference, NIH [pt]

Guideline [pt]

Practice Guideline [pt]

Meta-Analysis [pt]

Adverse Effects [sh]

Toxicity [sh]

Risk [tw]

 

Contact Us

This guide has been created by the University of Illinois at Chicago's Library of the Health Sciences at Peoria. 
Please feel free to contact us with any questions at lib-pref@uic.edu.