Populating decision-analytic models: the feasibility and efficiency of database searching for individual parameters

Su Golder, Julie Glanville, Laura Ginnelly

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


OBJECTIVES: The aim of the study was to investigate the feasibility and effectiveness of searching selected databases to identify information required to populate a decision-analytic model.

METHODS: Methods of searching for information to populate a decision-analytic model were piloted using a case study of prophylactic antibiotics to prevent recurrent urinary tract infections in children. This study explored how the information requirements for a decision-analytic model could be developed into searchable questions and how search strategies could be derived to answer these questions. The study also assessed the usefulness of three published search filters and explored which resources might produce relevant information for the various model parameters.

RESULTS: Based on the data requirements for this case study, 42 questions were developed for searching. These questions related to baseline event rates, health-related quality of life and outcomes, relative treatment effects, resource use and unit costs, and antibiotic resistance. A total of 1,237 records were assessed by the modeler, and of these, 48 were found to be relevant to the model. Search precision ranged from 0 percent to 38 percent, and no single database proved the most useful for all the questions.

CONCLUSIONS: The process of conducting specific searches to address each of the model questions provided information that was useful in populating the case study model. The most appropriate resources to search were dependent on the question, and multiple database searching using focused search strategies may prove more effective in finding relevant data than thorough searches of a single database.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)305-11
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Technology Assessment in Health Care
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2005


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Child
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Databases, Factual
  • Decision Support Techniques
  • Drug Resistance, Bacterial
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Information Storage and Retrieval
  • Quality-Adjusted Life Years
  • Urinary Tract Infections

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