Search filter aids public health research

ellen-head1Public health researchers can now find their way much more easily around PubMed, a huge American-based health database, thanks to the development of a search filter at Flinders University.

The Primary Health Care Research and Information Service (PHC RIS) today launched the Primary Health Care (PHC) Search Filter, which will provide assistance to researchers, policy makers, practitioners and others interested in finding primary health care information.

Developed as a joint project with the University’s research program Flinders Filters and based on PhD research by Dr Jennifer Tieman, the PHC Search Filter provides quick and easy access to primary health care literature using real-time searches of the PubMed, a free database that accesses references and abstracts on life sciences and biomedical topics.

The PubMed database, maintained by the US National Library of Medicine, has over 21 million citations in total and is growing at over 500,000 per year.

Associate Professor Ellen McIntyre, Director of the PHC RIS (pictured), said it is becoming increasingly difficult and time-consuming for researchers to get at the information they want.

The PHC Search Filter allows researchers to use topic searches around a particular health care topic or concept; currently the search filter has 12 topic searches.  Users can use either a “One-click Search” option or a “Build-your-own topic” search to increase the accuracy of searches and reduce the numbers of irrelevant results.

The filter has been developed over the past 12 months and has been extensively trialled and tested around Australia by a range of users. Funding for the project came from a Flinders University Co-Investment Grant.

“It has been done in a very rigorous way,” Associate Professor McIntyre said.

“The result is a filter that offers an effective real-time search of a large and freely available resource.”

As a result of overseas interest, Associate Professor McIntyre will present an abstract on the search filter at the European Primary Care Forum in September.

The PHC Search Filter can be accessed at

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