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Search Filters for MEDLINE in Ovid Syntax and the PubMed translation

Our Clinical Hedges database contains data for the year 2000 for each article in each of the issues of 170 clinical journals (journal list). 161 of these journals were indexed in MEDLINE (journal list). The MEDLINE search strategies are located on this page.

To view the search filters for EMBASE and PsycINFO, please click on the appropriate link. Find out more about the Hedges Project.

MEDLINE

For each purpose category (THERAPY, Diagnosis, Prognosis, Reviews, Clinical prediction guides, Quality improvement, Qualitative, Causation (etiology), Costs, Economics), the following data are shown:  Maximized sensitivity, Maximized specificity, and the Best balance of sensitivity and specificity. In the second column of the table the search filters are shown in Ovid syntax followed by the PubMed translation. In the third column: sens = sensitivity; spec = specificity; prec = precision; acc = accuracy. References for the methods and individual categories appear at the end of the document.


Top (Diagnosis, Prognosis, Reviews, Clinical prediction guides, Quality improvement, Qualitative, Causation (etiology), Costs, Economics)

Therapy- MEDLINE

Filter type

Ovid Filter

Sens / spec / prec / acc(%)
PubMed Translation
Maximizes sensitivity clinical trial.mp. OR
clinical trial.pt. OR
random:.mp. OR tu.xs.
99 / 70 / 10 / 71
(clinical[Title/Abstract] AND trial[Title/Abstract]) OR clinical trials as topic[MeSH Terms] OR clinical trial[Publication Type] OR random*[Title/Abstract] OR random allocation[MeSH Terms] OR therapeutic use[MeSH Subheading]
Maximizes specificity randomized controlled trial.pt. OR
randomized controlled trial.mp.
93 / 97 / 54 / 97
randomized controlled trial[Publication Type] OR (randomized[Title/Abstract] AND controlled[Title/Abstract] AND trial[Title/Abstract])
Best balance of sensitivity and specificity randomized controlled trial.pt. OR
randomized.mp. OR
placebo.mp.
96 / 95 / 39 / 95
randomized controlled trial[Publication Type] OR
randomized[Title/Abstract] OR
placebo[Title/Abstract]

Top (Therapy, Prognosis, Reviews, Clinical prediction guides, Quality improvement, Qualitative, Causation (etiology), Costs, Economics)

Diagnosis - MEDLINE

Filter type

Ovid Filter

Sens / spec / prec / acc(%)
PubMed Translation
Maximizes sensitivity sensitiv:.mp. OR diagnos:.mp. OR di.fs.
99 / 74 / 1 / 74
sensitiv*[Title/Abstract] OR
sensitivity and specificity[MeSH Terms] OR
diagnos*[Title/Abstract] OR diagnosis[MeSH:noexp] OR
diagnostic * [MeSH:noexp] OR
diagnosis,differential[MeSH:noexp] OR
diagnosis[Subheading:noexp]
Maximizes specificity specificity.tw.
65 / 98 / 11 / 98
specificity[Title/Abstract]
Best balance of sensitivity and specificity sensitiv:.mp. OR
predictive value:.mp. OR
accurac:.tw.
93 / 92 / 3 / 92
sensitiv*[Title/Abstract] OR
sensitivity and specificity[MeSH Terms] OR
(predictive[Title/Abstract] AND value*[Title/Abstract]) OR
predictive value of tests[MeSH Term] OR
accuracy*[Title/Abstract]

Top (Therapy, Diagnosis, Reviews, Clinical prediction guides, Quality improvement, Qualitative, Causation (etiology), Costs, Economics)

Prognosis - MEDLINE

Filter type

Ovid Filter

Sens / spec / prec / acc(%)
PubMed Translation
Maximizes sensitivity incidence.sh. OR exp mortality OR
follow-up studies.sh. OR
prognos:.tw. OR
predict:.tw. OR
course:.tw.
90 / 80 / 2 / 80
incidence[MeSH:noexp] OR
mortality[MeSH Terms] OR
follow up studies[MeSH:noexp] OR
prognos*[Text Word] OR
predict*[Text Word] OR
course*[Text Word]
Maximizes specificity prognos:.tw. OR
first episode.tw. OR
cohort.tw.
52 / 94 / 3 / 94
prognos*[Title/Abstract] OR
(first[Title/Abstract] AND
episode[Title/Abstract]) OR
cohort[Title/Abstract]
Best balance of sensitivity and specificity prognosis.sh. OR
diagnosed.tw. OR
cohort:.mp. OR
predictor:.tw. OR
death.tw. OR
exp models, statistical
83 / 84 / 2 / 84
prognosis[MeSH:noexp] OR
diagnosed[Title/Abstract] OR
cohort*[Title/Abstract] OR
cohort effect[MeSH Term] OR
cohort studies[MeSH:noexp] OR
predictor*[Title/Abstract] OR
death[Title/Abstract] OR
"models, statistical"[MeSH Term]

Top Therapy, Diagnosis, Prognosis, Clinical prediction guides, Quality improvement, Qualitative, Causation (etiology), Costs, Economics)

Reviews - MEDLINE

Filter type

Ovid Filter

Sens / spec / prec / acc(%)
PubMed Translation
Maximizes sensitivity search:.tw.OR
meta analysis.mp,pt.OR
review.pt.OR
di.xs. OR
associated.tw.
99.9 / 52 / 3 / 53
search*[Title/Abstract] OR
meta analysis[Publication Type] OR
meta analysis[Title/Abstract] OR
meta analysis[MeSH Terms] OR
review[Publication Type] OR
diagnosis[MeSH Subheading] OR
associated[Title/Abstract]
Maximizes specificity MEDLINE.tw.OR
systematic review.tw.OR
meta analysis.pt.
71 / 99.2 / 57 / 99
MEDLINE[Title/Abstract] OR
(systematic[Title/Abstract] AND
review[Title/Abstract]) OR
meta analysis[Publication Type]
Best balance of sensitivity and specificity meta analysis.mp,pt.OR
review.pt.OR
search:.tw.
98 / 91 / 14 / 91
meta analysis[Publication Type] OR
meta analysis[Title/Abstract] OR
meta analysis[MeSH Terms] OR
review[Publication Type] OR
search*[Title/Abstract]

Top (Therapy, Diagnosis, Prognosis, Reviews, Quality improvement, Qualitative, Causation (etiology), Costs, Economics)

Clinical Prediction Guides - MEDLINE

Filter type

Ovid Filter

Sens / spec / prec / acc(%)
PubMed Translation
Maximizes sensitivity predict:.mp. OR
scor:.tw. OR
observ:mp.
96 / 79 / 1 / 79
predict*[Title/Abstract] OR
predictive value of tests[MeSH Term] OR
scor*[Title/Abstract] OR
observ*[Title/Abstract] OR
observer variation[MeSH Term]
Maximizes specificity validation.tw. OR
validate.tw.
54 / 99 / 12 / 99
validation[Title/Abstract] OR
validate[Title/Abstract]
Best balance of sensitivity and specificity predict:tw. OR
validat:.mp. OR
develop.tw.
90 / 90 / 2 / 90
predict*[Title/Abstract] OR
validat*[Text Word] OR
develop[Title/Abstract]

Top (Therapy, Diagnosis, Prognosis, Reviews, Clinical prediction guides, Quality improvement, Causation (etiology), Costs, Economics)

Qualitative - MEDLINE

Filter type

Ovid Filter

Sens / spec / prec / acc(%)
PubMed Translation
Maximizes sensitivity interview:.tw. OR
px.fs. OR
exp health services administration
95 / 70 / 2 / 70
interview*[Title/Abstract] OR
psychology[Subheading:noexp] OR
health services administration[MeSH Term]
Maximizes specificity qualitative.tw. OR
themes.tw.
61 / 99 / 37 / 99
qualitative[Title/Abstract] OR
themes[Title/Abstract]
Best balance of sensitivity and specificity interview:.mp. OR
experience:.mp. OR
qualitative.tw.
92 / 92 / 7 / 92
interview*[Title/Abstract] OR
interviews[MeSH:noexp] OR
experience*[Text Word] OR
qualitative[Title/Abstract]

Top (Therapy, Diagnosis, Prognosis, Reviews, Clinical prediction guides, Quality improvement, Causation (etiology), Costs, Economics)

Causation (Etiology) - MEDLINE

Filter type

Ovid Filter

Sens / spec / prec / acc(%)
PubMed Translation
Maximizes sensitivity risk:.mp. OR
exp cohort studies OR
between group:.tw.
93 / 63 / 2 / 63
risk*[Title/Abstract] OR
risk*[MeSH:noexp] OR
risk *[MeSH:noexp] OR
cohort studies[MeSH Terms] OR
group*[Text Word]
Maximizes specificity relative risk:.tw. OR
risks.tw. OR
cohort stud:.mp.
51 / 95 / 6 / 95
(relative[Title/Abstract] AND risk*[Title/Abstract]) OR
(relative risk[Text Word]) OR
risks[Text Word] OR
cohort studies[MeSH:noexp] OR
(cohort[Title/Abstract] AND
stud*[Title/Abstract])
Best balance of sensitivity and specificity risk.mp. OR
mortality.mp. OR
cohort.tw.
83 / 83 / 3 / 83
risk[Title/Abstract] OR
risk[MeSH:noexp] OR
mortality[Title/Abstract] OR
mortality[MeSH:noexp] OR
cohort[Title/Abstract]

Top (Therapy, Diagnosis, Prognosis, Reviews, Clinical prediction guides, Quality improvement, Causation (etiology), Costs, Economics)

Costs - MEDLINE

Filter type

Ovid Filter

Sens / spec / prec / acc(%)
PubMed Translation
Maximizes sensivity ec.fs. OR
cost.tw. OR
health care costs.sh.
100 / 96 / 13 / 96
economics[Subheading:noexp] OR
cost[Title/Abstract] OR
health care costs[MeSH:noexp]
Maximizes specificity cost effectiveness.tw. OR
health care costs.sh.
57 / 99 / 37 / 99
cost effectiveness[Title/Abstract] OR
health care costs[MeSH:noexp]
Best balance of sensitivity and specificity exp "costs and cost analysis" OR
costs.tw. OR
cost effective:.tw.
98 / 98 / 18 / 98
"costs and cost analysis"[MeSH Term] OR
costs[Title/Abstract] OR
cost effective*[Title/Abstract]

Top (therapy, diagnosis, prognosis, reviews, clinical prediction guides, qualitative, causation (etiology), costs)

Economics - MEDLINE

Filter type

Ovid Filter

Sens / spec / prec / acc(%)
PubMed Translation
Maximizes sensitivity randomized controlled trial.pt. OR
cost effectiveness.tw. OR
cost effective.tw.
100 / 94 / 1 / 94
randomized controlled trial[Publication Type] OR
cost effectiveness[Title/Abstract] OR
cost effective[Title/Abstract]
Maximizes specificity cost effective.tw. OR
sensitivity analys:.tw.
51 / 99 / 6 / 99
cost effective[Title/Abstract] OR
sensitivity analys*[Title/Abstract]
Best balance of sensitivity and specificity cost:.mp. OR
cost benefit analys:.mp. OR
health care costs.mp.
97 / 96 / 2 / 96
cost*[Title/Abstract] OR
"costs and cost analysis"[MeSH:noexp] OR
cost benefit analys*[Title/Abstract] OR
cost-benefit analysis[MeSH Term] OR
health care costs[MeSH:noexp]

Top

References

Wilczynski NL, McKibbon KA, Haynes RB. Enhancing retrieval of best evidence for health care from bibliographic databases: calibration of the hand search of the literature. Medinfo. 2001;10(Pt 1):390-3.

Wilczynski NL, Haynes RB, Hedges Team. Robustness of empirical search strategies for clinical content in MEDLINE. Proc AMIA Symp. 2002:904-8.
Free full text link: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2244303/pdf/procamiasymp00001-0945.pdf

Wilczynski NL, Haynes RB. Developing optimal search strategies for detecting clinically sound causation studies in MEDLINE. Proc AMIA Symp. 2003;719-23.

Wong SS, Wilczynski NL, Haynes RB, Ramkissoonsingh R. Developing optimal search strategies for detecting sound clinical prediction studies in MEDLINE. Proc AMIA Symp. 2003;:728-32.

Haynes RB, Wilczynski NL. Optimal search strategies for retrieving scientifically strong studies of diagnosis from MEDLINE: analytical survey. BMJ. 2004;328:1040-2.

Wilczynski NL, Haynes RB; The Hedges Team. Developing optimal search strategies for detecting clinically sound prognostic studies in MEDLINE. BMC Medicine. 2004;2:23 (5 pages).

Wong SS, Wilczynski NL, Haynes RB. Developing optimal search strategies for detecting clinically relevant qualitative studies in MEDLINE. Medinfo. 2004;2004:311-6.

Wilczynski NL, Haynes RB, Lavis JN, Ramkissoonsingh R, Arnold-Oatley A, for the HSR Hedges Team. Optimal search strategies for detecting health services research studies in MEDLINE. CMAJ, 2004 Nov 9;171(10)1179-85.
Free full text link: http://www.cmaj.ca/cgi/reprint/171/10/1179.

Montori VM, Wilczynski NL, Morgan D, Haynes RB for the Hedges Team. Optimal search strategies for retrieving systematic reviews from MEDLINE: an analytical survey. BMJ. 2005 Jan 8;330(7482):68. Epub 2004 Dec 24.
Free full text link: http://bmj.bmjjournals.com/cgi/reprint/330/7482/68.

Haynes RB, McKibbon KA, Wilczynski NL, WalterSD, Werre SR; Hedges Team. Optimal search strategies for retrieving scientifically strong studies of treatment from Medline: analytical survey. BMJ. 2005 May 21;330(7501):1179. Epub 2005 May 13.
Free full text link: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC558012/pdf/bmj33001179.pdf

Wilczynski NL, Haynes RB. Consistency and accuracy of indexing systematic review articles and meta-analyses in MEDLINE. Health Info Libr J. 2009 Sep;26(3):203-10.

McKibbon KA, Wilczynski NL, Haynes RB, Hedges Team. Retrieving randomized controlled trials from MEDLINE: a comparison of 38 published search filters. Health Info Libr J. 2009 Sep;26(3):187-202.

Wilczynski NL, Haynes RB, QI Hedges Team. Optimal search filters for detecting quality improvement studies in MEDLINE.Qual Saf health Care. 2010 Dec;19(6):331. Epub 2010 July 29.