A search engine aimed at health professionals looking for clinical research literature to support patient care will become free-to-access this month.

The Turning Research Into Practice (TRIP) database has been running since 1997, but money spent on improving the search facility, led to it converting to a subscription-only basis, three years ago.

Directors John Bassey and Dr Chris Price now feel that with the service has been improved as planned and can now go back to being a free service, supported through advertising and paid for links into the database.

They hope to increase the number of searches from the current 450,000 a month to over a million within a year.

Bassey told E-Health Insider: “Being subscription based cut TRIP off from most users and it was frustrating having this great and rapidly improving resource and relatively little use.”

The site focuses on providing links to the latest evidence-based medicine (EBM), medical images and patient information leaflets for users to access.

It has allowed Google to spider its content and refer users to its pages, and so Bassey hopes to see more people using the facility, now that it is free.

“Prior to going free, a Google referred user only had limited ability to search – before being asked to subscribe. We’re hoping to get to one million searches per months within 12 months.”

TRIP hopes to make money on the site now by allowing users to ‘buy’ keywords, and display their banner ads at the top of results pages. They also plan to become a sponsored link website on Google.

They also hope to increase the use of their meta-data via webservices, where third party companies have been paying to take information from the website and publicise it on their own pages using XML. They have already signed a deal with NHS Scotland eLibrary.

The TRIP Database is currently searched around 450,000 times per month, and Bassey hopes that going free will give them more prominence, amongst clinicians in particular.

He said: “We’re hoping as we get more prominent we’ll get more use of our web-services – time will tell!”


TRIP database