Background: The Effective Practice and Organisation of Care (EPOC) Review Group has a specialized Register which collects primary studies based on the following four designs, RCT (randomized controlled trial), CCT (controlled clinical trial), ITS (Interrupted time series) and CBA (controlled before and after). This database includes additional fields that are coded to reflect interventions and behaviors that are specific to the mandate of the group.
Objective: To add additional searchable database fields to the Registry for coding of information specific to the needs of an environmental scan for the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) to map studies that are relevant to the various CIHR Institutes.
Methods: Additional fields were added to include details about nationality and specific CIHR Institute and CIHR Pillar information. Information about nationality was pulled from Institution and subject heading fields. To include these details in prospective coding, the data coding form was adapted. To add this information retrospectively, specific search strategies were developed and conducted in the Register and study records were updated with appropriate CIHR Institute and Pillar information.
Results: The Register can now be searched to determine studies that are directly relevant to each CIHR Institute and Pillar which will allow for better dissemination of health services information within Canada. It can also be used to identify studies from other countries. 7% of the studies in the Register were identified as Canadian. The Institute that was noted the most times was the CIHR Institute of Health Services and Policy Research, which was identified in 98% of Register studies.
Conclusions: Reflecting on our experiences, a Register can perform many functions and can be adapted to meet the needs of other projects with little additional work on the part of the Trials Search Coordinator.