In this entry, I would like to simply provide information about search engines beyond those with which most of us are familiar. We all are aware of PubMed, MANTIS, CINAHL, and perhaps AMED and Cochrane/DARE, but there is a wealth of rigorous search engines we can use to locate information. Here are but some:
Natural Standard Database: http://naturalstandard.com. (Disclaimer: I am a member of their senior editorial board). From their website, they state “Natural Standard was founded by clinicians and researchers to provide high quality, evidence-based information about complementary and alternative therapies. This international multidisciplinary collaboration now includes contributors from more than 100 eminent academic institutions.” There are actually 8 separate databases on this site, some of which are more consumer oriented while some are clinician and researcher oriented. The “Comparative Effectiveness” and “Medical Conditions” databases are particularly useful.
National Guideline Clearinghouse: http://www.guidelines.gov/ This is a database of evidence-based practice guidelines offered by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). This database hews to evidence-based practice as all guidelines must be based off of systematic reviews to be included. You can search by disease/condition, treatment/intervention/ measures, or organization. You can also link to healthcare syntheses and expert commentary on this site.
TRIP Database: http://tripdatabase.com/index.html TRIP stands for Turning Research into Practice, and this database locates the most rigorous possible evidence with which to inform clinical practice decisions, and they do so based on the methods of evidence-based practice. It can link you to evidence-based synopses, systematic reviews and guidelines. It also provides links to evidence-based resources.
ACP Journal Club: http://www.acpjc.org This is a program from the American College of Physicians, and it states its goal as “ACP Journal Club's general purpose is to select from the biomedical literature articles that report original studies and systematic reviews that warrant immediate attention by physicians attempting to keep pace with important advances in internal medicine. These articles are summarized in value-added abstracts and commented on by clinical experts.” Its search function will allow you to look for condition-specific information or intervention-based information. The material is based on the latest information from top medical journals.
PEDRo: http://www.pedro.org.au/ This is the Physiotherapy Evidence Database, an initiative of the Centre for Evidence-Based Physiotherapy. It contains an excellent tutorial on its use, as well as links to related topic areas. It will allow for basic and advanced searching of the physiotherapy literature.
PsycINFO: http://www.apa.org/psycinfo/ This is from the American Psychological Association and is their database for the psychological literature. It includes journal articles, books, dissertations and other “grey” literature and to date now includes close to 3 million citations.
There are certainly many other databases available for your use, many covering natural therapies. When one has a PICO question (Patient- Intervention- Comparison- Outcome), the use of the most appropriate database can help you resolve a clinical challenge more effectively and efficiently. These are only some of those you can use, but I hope you will consider bookmarking them and using them on a regular basis.