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Where to look for studies to include in EPOC reviews

Date and Location




Saturday 21 September 2013 - 10:30 - 12:00


Presenting author and contact person

Presenting author

Marit Johansen

Contact person

Marit Johansen
Abstract text
Background: The Cochrane Effective Practice and Organisation of Care Group (EPOC), prepares systematic reviews about non-clinical interventions targeting health personnel, health services and health systems. EPOC reviews may include study designs other than RCTs, and these studies are often considered hard to find due to where and how they are indexed. Rada et al (2009) found that systematic reviews in Health Policy and Systems Research had searched an average of 7.7 resources. MEDLINE and Embase were among the resources most frequently searched, but their contribution is unknown. Objectives: To find how many studies included in EPOC reviews are indexed in MEDLINE, Embase, or elsewhere. Methods: We looked at all EPOC reviews published in Issue 1 2013 of The Cochrane Library. We used OvidSP to find whether included studies were indexed in MEDLINE, Embase, or in neither of the two databases. Results: 84 reviews included a total of 1462 studies. 1348 studies were indexed in both MEDLINE and Embase. 9 were indexed in MEDLINE only, 23 in Embase only, and 82 elsewhere. Discussion: Although we know where most "EPOC studies" are indexed, they may still be hard to identify when conducting a systematic search. We have yet to investigate how hard they are to find, and the number of records needed to screen in order to find them. Conclusions: Even though MEDLINE and Embase are known as clinical databases, they both include studies relevant to non-clinical reviews. There is also a large overlap between MEDLINE and Embase which could lead one to question whether it is necessary for EPOC reviews to search both databases. References: Rada G, Neumann I, Herrera C, Manríquez JJ, Pantoja T. Where do systematic reviews in Health Policy and Systems Research search for studies? Cochrane Colloquium, 2009.