With the massive amount of medical information out there today, it seems all but impossible for doctors – and patients – to stay on top of the ever-changing and developing knowledge game.
To put in perspective the mind-boggling amount of information available, consider the different types: clinical trials, studies, articles, books, etc. For example, PubMed, a service of the US National Library of Medicine, has over 26 million citations for biomedical literature. Embase, another biomedical literature database, adds more than 5,000 records DAILY.
While many doctors still use traditional resources for keeping current (especially if they are board certified), they are turning to technology for finding current recommendations and protocols.
UpToDate is one of the online-based resources and apps giving doctors, hospitals, and health centers current medical information at their fingertips. Self-described as a “premier evidence-based clinical decision support resource”, its info is arranged by categories like presentation, diagnosis, and treatment. Doctors like Hugo Yang, M.D., an internist in Palo Alto, Ca., find it user-friendly and relevant. Based on available evidence, the authors of UpToDate summarize current guidelines and suggestions. It also keeps practitioners abreast of changes in their specialty.
“UpToDate also actively alerts providers with a ‘What’s New’ section, which includes ‘Practice Changing Updates’ to give providers useful recommendations, which are graded,” Yang said.
If your doctor speaks with you for a few minutes, then leaves for a moment to “check something”, he or she could be checking in with one of these popular resources.
ClinicalKey is another online database that practitioners can use to search for a specific ailment or condition and pull up all of the latest recommendations on the topic. It’s continuously updated with the most clinically relevant information showing up first in a search. Elsevier, the company behind ClinicalKey, is the same company behind the Embase medical literature database. It’s available online and through an app.