Orthopaedic Surgical Content Associated with Resources for Clinical Evidence

Sarah L Turvey, Nasir Hussain, Laura Banfield, Mohit Bhandari


Introduction: As evidence-based medicine is increasingly being adopted in medical and surgical practice, effective processing and interpretation of medical literature is imperative. Databases presenting the contents of medical literature have been developed; however, their efficacy merits investigation. The objective of this study was to quantify surgical and orthopaedic content within five evidence-based medicine resources: DynaMed, Clinical Evidence, UpToDate, PIER, and First Consult. Methods: We abstracted surgical and orthopaedic content from UpToDate, DynaMed, PIER, First Consult, and Clinical Evidence. We defined surgical content as that which involved surgical interventions. We classified surgical content by specialty and, for orthopaedics, by subspecialty. The amount of surgical content, as measured by the number of relevant reviews, was compared with the total number of reviews in each database. Likewise, the amount of orthopaedic content, as measured by the number of relevant reviews, was compared with the total number of reviews and the total number of surgical reviews in each database. Results: Across all databases containing a total of 13268 reviews, we identified an average of 18% surgical content. Specifically, First Consult and PIER contained 28% surgical content as a percentage of the total database content. DynaMed contained 14% and Clinical Evidence 11%, whereas UpToDate contained only 9.5% surgical content. Overall, general surgery, pediatrics, and oncology were the most common specialty areas in all databases. Discussion: Our findings suggest that the limited surgical content within these large scope resources poses difficulties for physicians and surgeons seeking answers to complex clinical questions, specifically within the field of orthopaedics. This study therefore demonstrates the potential need for, and benefit of, surgery-specific or even specialty-specific tools.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5596/c13-011


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