Background: Clinical pathway is a tool to achieve case management in the management of the healthcare system, which can improve the quality of medical services and reduce the cost of medical care. Accessing research on clinical pathways quickly and efficiently is a critically important for health practitioners, clinical pathway experts and other related interests.
Objectives: Aim to develop a optimal search strategy for clinical pathways in PubMed.
Methods:An analytic survey was conducted. We determined the sample of journals that published the quantity of top 10 literature of clinical pathway in PubMed database; manual retrieved sample journals published in 2014-2016 as the gold standard; verified the clinical pathways of each retrieval, did statistical analysis and calculation of the sensitivity and specificity of the final selection.
Results: Only 76 (0.4%) of the 14 257 articles were clinical pathways. Different retrieval strategies are retrieved in PubMed database, the sensitivity and specificity was showed in Table 1.The most sensitive strategy included 7-term and had a sensitivity of 76.3% and a specificity of 11.65%. The best measure of specificity (42.86%) was found in a 3-term strategy, but with a considerable fall in sensitivity to 11.84%.
Conclusions: Clinical pathways can be retrieved from PubMed with close to suitable sensitivity or specificity by using empirical search strategies.