Appraisal of: "Arber M, Wood H, Isojarvi J, Glanville J. Which information sources should be used to identify studies for systematic reviews of economic evaluations in healthcare? Value Health. 2017 Oct/Nov;20(9):A738. Abstract PRM46."

Short description: 

NHS EED and HEED, two key databases for retrieving health economics information, have closed. Based on this changed landscape, this abstract assesses which database are now the best sources of information for retrieving economic evaluations for models and systematic reviews. The authors built a quasi-gold standard database of 351 records compiled from 46 systematic reviews of economic evaluations. Nine databases were searched for each record. Embase had the highest yield (0.89), followed by Scopus (0.84) and MEDLINE and PubMed (both 0.81). The HTA database identified the highest number of unique citations (13/351). All nine database combined retrieved 337/351 (0.96) records. The authors conclude that for most systematic reviews, Embase, the HTA database and either PubMed or MEDLINE are likely sufficient to identify economic evaluations found in bibliographic databases. Searching a multi-disciplinary database may also be useful, especially in non-clinical topics. Supplementary search techniques may be more efficient than searching a larger number of databases.

MEDLINE search strategies reported in source systematic reviews were also assessed. 10/29 (34.5%) of re-run search strategies missed at least one of the included records found in MEDLINE (with 25 citations missed in total). Weaknesses in the population or intervention concepts, rather than the economics concept, were identified as negatively impacting search retrieval.

Limitations stated by the author(s): 

None stated.

Limitations stated by the reviewer(s): 
Since the results were published only in abstract form, very limited information was presented on methods, results and conclusions.
Study Type: 
Single study