New features launched in Health Systems Evidence and Social Systems Evidence

To support government policymakers, system and organizational leaders and other stakeholders who want to quickly find the best-available global evidence on pressing health- and social-system topics, we’ve recently introduced two new improvements to the search functionality in Health Systems Evidence and Social Systems Evidence.

The first improvement is the ‘search best syntheses only’ button under the open search bar, which enables users to narrow their search results to include only those evidence syntheses deemed ‘best’ for a particular taxonomy topic by our editors. To be eligible for 'best,' an evidence synthesis must meet two key criteria: 1) a moderate-to-high AMSTAR score (e.g., four or higher); and 2) a literature search conducted within the last five years. To be selected as ‘best,’ the following six factors are considered by our editors: 1) AMSTAR score; 2) recency of search; 3) ‘living’ status; 4) availability of a GRADE evidence profile; 5) directness of the relationship to the taxonomy category; and 6) absence of study-inclusion limits (e.g., studies from a single country). Please keep in mind during the ‘beta’ phase for this function that our HSE and SSE editors have not yet assessed all evidence syntheses contained in the two databases, so some filters may yield no results for ‘best.’

The second improvement is the introduction of ‘living’ as an advanced search filter under ‘document features’ in both databases. This filter will enable users to narrow their search results to include only evidence syntheses that are ‘living,’ meaning the authors of the synthesis have indicated in their methods a plan to regularly update the synthesis to reflect shifting health- and social-system contexts and to ensure any new single studies published on the topic are included in the analysis and captured in the results (which is particularly important for topics where the evidence base is evolving rapidly).

Both Health Systems Evidence and Social Systems Evidence continue to undergo extensive enhancements, including adding new features that will improve users’ experience and offer more powerful search capacity to help them find the best available evidence. Stay tuned for future updates, and bear with us as we continue to make changes to the sites.