Appraisal of: Golder S, Glanville J, Ginnelly L. Populating decision-analytic models: the feasibility and efficiency of database searching for individual parameters. Int J Technol Assess Health Care 2005 Summer;21(3):305-311.

Short description: 
The authors investigated the efficacy of searching selected databases to retrieve specific information to populate a decision-analytic (economic) model. Altogether 42 specific questions were developed from a single case study and then grouped into 18 search strategies. Information required to populate the model for the case study was divided into five categories: baseline event rates, health-related quality of life, resource use and cost units, relative treatment effects and antibiotic resistance. Databases searched included MEDLINE, Embase, the Incidence and Prevalence Database (IPD), Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (CDSR), the Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effects (DARE), the Health Technology Assessment (HTA) database, Cochrane Central, NHS Economic Evaluation Database (NHS EED) and the Health Economic Evaluations Database (HEED). Results were presented describing the most useful databases for each of the five question types. Issues and strategies in developing searches for each question type were also discussed. Searching multiple databases using focused search strategies for each question resulted in the identification of important data for inclusion in the model. It was noted that while searches of this nature may not be highly sensitive, the search process nevertheless can still be systematic, transparent and well-documented.
Limitations stated by the author(s): 
The paper describes only one case study which retrieved a limited number of relevant citations, making it difficult to generalize to other decision-analytic models. The information required to populate a different decision-analytic model may require an adjustment to resources and strategies used. Project time and resources will dictate the acceptable level of focus in the search strategies as well as the number of source searched.
Limitations stated by the reviewer(s): 
National or regional sources of information may be required to find some relevant data to populate models. Grey literature searching is not discussed.
Study Type: 
Single study
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