Frequently Updated Medical References
by Marjorie Lazoff, MD
Medical Computing Today
Accepted for publication in Medical Computing Today July 1998
Originally published in edited form July 1998 and April 1999 in Medical Software Reviews.
EBM/Journal Clubs -
EI/Global Med -
Press Releases -
specialty org/academia -
other clinical -
Cochrane New Items and Updates from the Cochrane Collaboration, the international group supporting evidence based medicine.
US Medicine News; scroll halfway down the home page for a list of the current monthly issue, and for archives from previous issues. US Medicine is a journal for U.S. federal medical news for government officials.
The Body's Daily AIDS/HIV Information is a convenient list linking from this popular AIDS Web site to news items throughout the Web, including the CDC, CNN and other media outlets, and PediAIDS. Some references are 1-2 months behind, others are updated daily.
Urology News Online has monthly News & Products, and Reviews of journal articles. Access everything off the site's Contents page.
There is no shortage of online medical and health information to help keep us informed on current events, politics, clinical practice, business, and computing matters. A wealth of resources contributes to this abundance: major media coverage; press releases from medical organizations, institutions, and companies; current contents of medical journals and online abstract reviews; reports from medical conventions; and medical sites with running commentary on issues that fall within clinical, legal, and ethical arenas.
The sections here are less "newsy" than Medical Professional News list but include more professionally accessible clinical information, frequently refreshed or updated. Many of these references are among the finest on the Web. Similar sites are listed together within categories.
This article strives to be comprehensive but not all-inclusive. Many sites were excluded because of unabashed commercialism, sensationalism, or unprofessional presentation or content. Sites aimed solely at the public are also not included. Please contact me with corrections or to submit sites for consideration. Sites that cater to physicians are especially welcome.
Frequently Updated Online Textbooks
Selected Medical Journals
- A few subscription databases such as Harrisons Online and Scientific American Medicine regularly update their content.
- GeneClinics provides a comprehensive clinical database on inherited disorders. This site showcases the best trend in electronic database publishing: unbiased sponsorship with content authored by academicians and/or experts that undergoes both internal and external peer review, clearly dated and referenced with PubMed links, and easily and quickly accessible through an intuitive interface.
- Physicians Online version of Outlines in Clinical Medicine (OCM) gives unlimited access to this otherwise subscription-based medical information program. OCM's primarily Harvard-affiliated group of editors updates content every four months with information from major medical journals and newsletters, although many outlines remain unchanged since 1997. OCM seems best suited for medical students or house staff looking for a review database for boards and other examinations. As such, it contains several nice features, such the outline in Major Studies in Cardiology, a section on Differential Diagnosis, and hundreds of Review Questions.
- PraxisMD Praxis Medicine is divided into HyperReference and dozens of short article updates collectively referred to as Field Reports. HyperReference is the online version of the journal, The Current Practice of Medicine, 1999 edition, and is periodically updated, by section. The Field Reports are somewhat lighter fare. PraxisMD itself is feature laden, which benefits Praxis Medicine users.
- eMedicine Emergency Medicine has a unique method of content updating; where authors and editors have password-protected access to online editing. Web technology also allows authors and editors to receive e-mail without revealing their address to the public, and allows for incorporation of graphics and other multimedia. This site, which is sponsored by multiple corporations, posts a Code of Ethics describing its peer review process, essential given the site's original criticism of variable content and questionable authority. The Code also describes how advertisements are segregated from clinical content, which is important as content pages contain dynamic banners that cannot be scrolled away.
- Dynamic Medical Information System (DynaMed)/Web is the version freely available to site registrants; there is also a Notes software version that is subscription-based. From afar DynaMed/Web looks like an impressive amount of information, but on closer examination the 2,000+ article summaries vary tremendously in depth, accuracy, and relevancy. Content is dutifully updated several times a week. A promising new section on Information Quality describes the selection of content based on relevance, validity, and methodology, with a great deal of attention given to evidence-based medicine concepts.
- A list of free electronic medical textbooks, some of which are updated regularly, is available on Michael P. D'Alessandro, M.D.'s MedicalStudent.com.
Journal Citations and Abstracts
- New England Journal of Medicine current issue, links to abstracts. Updated on Thursdays.
- Annals of Internal Medicine contains current table of contents, links to several full-text articles and features. Biweekly.
- The Lancet provides full text of its current and back issues to subscribers or -- here's the good news -- to physicians that read it in (ie: are affiliated with) libraries that subscribe to the Lancet. Get the access numbers as instructed in the Lancet's registration section from your librarian, and enjoy its new sophisticated online format. Even nonsubscribers may have limited access after free registration.
- British Medical Journal posts its current issue, with abstracts and full text in a pleasant, straightforward format. The entire BMJ Web site puts us Yankees to shame. Saturdays.
- JAMA's table of contents links to full text articles or abstracts. Wednesdays.
- CA - A Cancer Journal for Clinicians maintains a list of issues for this peer-reviewed journal from the American Cancer Society. Annotated table of contents links to full-text articles. Bimonthly.
- Journal of Clinical Oncology posts the table of contents to current issue; most link to abstracts. Monthly.
- Journal of the American College of Cardiology current contents links to full-text articles or abstracts. Monthly.
- Chest posts all editorials and abstracts from this respected monthly journal. Good example of an easily navigable site using (collapsable) frames format.
- Pediatrics Electronic Pages are additional full-text articles posted each month on the Pediatrics journal site. And scroll down to see contents of print journal as well, although only subscribers can access full-text articles.
- Neurology Online is the full-text version of Neurology, available gratis from January to May 1999. Use the left navigation bar on its framed home page to access contents.
- American Family Physician links its home page to the current issue, with full-text article and wonderful graphics. Biweekly.
- Family Practice's home page links to its current issue, with abstracts of all articles. Bimonthly.
- Southern Medical Journal links to full text articles (using Acrobat Reader) of the current issue. Full archives as well.
- American Journal of Epidemiology home page has links to the current issue, with abstracts of almost all articles. No archives.
- Emerging Infectious Diseases is the current issue of this quarterly peer-reviewed journal from the CDC. Links to full text, or download. Sophisticated Web presentation.
- Medscape is a commercial Web site with reputedly thousands of full-text clinical articles from various journals published by SCP Communications. Quality of content varies widely. Free registration required.
- PDR.net is another commercial Web site with hundreds of full-text clinical articles from various journals published by Medical Economics. Here too, quality of content varies widely. Free registration required.
Clinical Reviews (evidence-based resources, journal clubs, etc.)
- PubMed Search: "Clinical" past 24 hours will, depending on time and day of search, return 0-40 hits of the most recently entered Medline clinical citations and abstracts. If no hits retrieved, search past 20 days.
- WebMedLit, a service sponsored by SilverPlatter and Physician's Home Page, updates its online listing of the current issue of 23 journals (such as JAMA, various Archives, NEJM, BMJ, Cancer). Access is by topics or an Excite search engine, which allows for saved searches.
- CancerLit Citations and Abstracts from the National Cancer Institute is provided by University of Pennsylvania's Oncolink. Site search engine will identify which hits are NCI/PDQ citations. Monthly.
- RHIC Current Literature Alert from the Rural Health Information Clearinghouse, a list of related journal articles, some with links to PubMed abstracts or its full-text. Monthly.
- Biomedicine and Health In The News are citations from journal article reports noted in the New York Times (compiled at the University of Connecticut) and Minneapolis Star Tribune (University of Minnesota). Daily.
- The Abstracts of Cochrane Reviews are freely available online, although its full text counterpart, the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (CDSR) is available only by subscription. The CDSR is the premier database of evidence based
medicine, with the stated goal to prepare and maintain reviews of controlled trials and other scientific research. Both are updated quarterly.
- United Kingdom and University of York's The NHS Centre for Reviews and Dissemination (CRD) is the sibling organization of the UK Cochrane Centre. Included at this Web site are three growing full-text databases of structured abstracts and commentaries of studies, the best known of which is DARE. This link searches recent entries -- default setting is one month, and brings up about two dozen reviews, many of which are completed reviews.
- POEMs, formerly the Journal of Family Practice's Journal Club, posts eight Patient-Oriented Evidence that Matters per month. Scroll down to the bottom for the most recent POEMs.
- ACP Journal Club carries a handful of article summaries and commentaries. Bimonthly.
- Evidence-Based Medicine shares several of its reviews and commentaries on line, with each issue. Bimonthly.
- Bandolier carries the current issue of England's monthly journal on evidence-based medicine, with its half-dozen literature reviews, accessible from the home page. A popular Web site.
- Infomed offers several "short review topics of practical interest to clinicians" by Canada's Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences. Quarterly.
- Journal Watch is a biweekly newsletter of literature reviews from the Massachusetts Medical Society. The home site allows access only to subscribers. This particular link is to a handful of their summaries maintained gratis by InteliHealth Professional Network.
- Medi-News consists of article reviews from all specialties with excellent commentaries/Q&As from Canada's Medical Education Network. Regularly maintained, but with a lag time.
- SMA News Potpourri and Selected Abstracts comes from the Southern Medical Association. Monthly, with archives.
- MD Digests summarizes a handful of articles from the big five medical journals, with helpful end-of-article links to relevant online resources. Archives of past summaries can be searched. Weekly.
- Hot Topics in Health Care link to a dozen journal article abstracts and commentary selected from various American Health Consultants monthly specialty newsletters.
- Journal Club on the Web, Michael Jacobson, MD's labor of love site, is a perennial favorite. Several entries a month, from summary and commentary on selected medical journal articles to reader questions and comments.
- Primary, written by Silverplatter's Core Curriculum Committee physicians, provides practical clinical information, references, and Web links biweekly, on a
- Weekly Web Reviews in Emergency Medicine, a well-designed site from Cook County Hospital Department of Emergency Medicine, has concise summaries and analysis of major clinical articles and links to relevant Web sites. Its archive is accessible by month, or can be searched. Articles are usually appropriate for other specialties as well. Strives to update weekly, but falls behind.
- STAT News At Your Desktop, from Medconnect's Interactive Journal of Emergency Medicine, requires free registration to access the handful of article reviews and commentaries. Monthly, at best.
- iPeds News at Your Desktop, Medconnect's Interactive Journal of Pediatrics, requires free registration to access the handful of article reviews and commentaries. Monthly.
- GastroNews, is located on a Glaxo Wellcome site. But the news is from an independent source, Faxwatch, whose staff summarize and abstract articles from the major medical and GI journals. Weekly.
- ENT News Online "...is an Internet supplement to the printed journal offering similar content in an interactive format. It provides special functions such as links to related sites and easy access to our archive editions." In addition to the lead article, features, and editorials, Current Literature offers critical summaries to articles appearing in ENT journal. Bimonthly.
- Eye News includes a lead article, features, editorials, and a Current Literature section of critical summaries to articles appearing in ophthalmology journals. Cookie-laden, but one of the better-designed medical sites on the Web (from England, of course). Partly supported by Allergan, which contributes content as well. Monthly.
Emerging Infections (EI) & Global Medicine
- POL's Rx Launch freely accessible to Physicians Online registrants off its home page, is a thoughtful resource. Following a thumbnail description of each drug is a button to an intermediary page linking to prescribing information; preformatted PubMed, Yahoo Internet, and Reuter's Medical News searches; MediSpan's interactions database, and a discussion group. Resource lags new releases by a few months.
- MedWatch News carries new safety information summaries regarding biologics, dietary supplements, drugs, and medical devices, and other products from the Food and Drug Administration's Medical Products Reporting Program. For full access to site see MedWatch.
- PDR Addenda, accessible to freely registered users from the home page's Resources drop down list, is undated but appears not to be the most updated version. Ignore the PDR's distracting, illogical definition links.
- RxList's What's New gives monthly updates to its 300+ 1998 GenRx monographs.
- Medical Sciences Bulletin, the major content resource for the popular PharmInfoNet site, now includes a listing (alas, poorly maintained) of What's New on medications. The reference is intended for the pharmaceutical industry, but there is enough clinical information to be helpful to physicians and other health professionals as well. Monthly.
- PNN Pharmacotherapy Line posts several dozen items from journal and media sources. Another PharmInfonet resource. Mid-month.
- The Therapeutics Initiative, from The University of British Columbia's Departments of Pharmacology &Therapeutics and Family Practice, provides physicians and pharmacists with up-to-date, evidence based, practical information on drug therapy. The Initiative prides itself on being a thoroughly independent organization and on maintaining its database of topical issues since 1994. This is a thoughtful reference reminiscent of The Medical Letter. Bimonthly.
- Drug Topics New Product Newswire lists summaries of new medications and indications. Hot Off The Presses occasionally includes information on new medications, but has a more business/industry than clinical slant. Drug Topics is a biweekly journal for pharmacists.
- Listing of Newly Approved Drug Therapies from Centerwatch, is organized by specialty and year. At present the sole listing under 1999 is Famvir, but prior years appear complete. Each drug is linked to a short nontechnical description.
- List of Newly Approved FDA Drugs, by year, is provided by CenterWatch, a clinical trials listing service.
- Doctor's Guide to New Drugs or Indications is essentially a list of press releases, newest on top. Without a search engine, either scroll through the long list or use the browser's Edit/Find feature. Several times a week.
- Pharmaceutical, Science and Research, and Products and Technical, from Johns Hopkins - Aetna/US Healthcare's Intelihealth Professional Network, provide pharmaceutical-related press releases and reports from Reuters and other mainstream news sources.
- PhRMA New Medicines in Development is divided into Approved Medicines, and Drugs in Development (in categories such as AIDS, African-Americans, and Biotechnology). these PDF-formatted reports are well organizaed, readable, and informative but many are dated by months to a year or maore, and all carry a pro-industry slant. (PhRMA = Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America).
- NIH Clinical Research Studies for clinical trials sponsored by the NIH.
- Centerwatch Clinical Trials for clinical trials sponsored by a variety of sources.
- ACTIS Databases lists clinical trials and experimental drugs involving HIV+/AIDS patients: AIDSTRIAL, AIDSDRUGS, and other resources from the AIDS Clinical Trials Information Service (ACTIS).
- NCI Developmental Therapeutics Programs lists clinical trials involving cancer patients.
Selected Press Releases
Selected Medical Associations
- ProMED-mail, SatelLife's access to the Program for Monitoring Emerging Diseases (ProMED) Web site, permits online subscription to and accessing of present and past posts via monthly archives, retrievable by date or thread. There is also a WebGlimpse search engine for this database.
- Outbreak is a well respected EI site that has not been updated in recent months. Although it has a separate Recent Outbreaks page, this links to the home page until the site is again regularly maintained.
- WHO Disease Outbreak News from the World Health Organization's Emerging and Other Communicable Diseases Surveillance and Control includes archives by year and disease. Also see Press Releases 1999.
- UNAIDS, The Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS, provides a global and sociopolitical perspective through its newsletters, campaigns, and press releases.
- Emerging Infectious Diseases Press Releases is also a back door into the extensive online offerings of this monthly scholarly journal.
- PAHO What's New links to disaster medicine, administrative, and policy documents from the Pan American Health Organization.
- EuroSurveillance is a monthly European public health publication. The articles are particularly well-formatted; PDF versions for downloading are available as well. EuroSurveillance Weekly, with different articles and a more practical and relaxed perspective from its monthly sister, is available as an e-mail digest with links for those who register (free).
- ISTM News, by the International Society of Travel Medicine, includes travel news from the CDC and WHO. Several times a month.
- PANA Science & Health is issued by the Panafrican News Agency. Wednesdays.
- Irish Medical Times is not for the general public, but physicians outside of Ireland can register (free). Frames format; from the home page go to Latest Irish Healthcare News.
Also Frequently Updated
- AAMC News and Events links to the American Association of Medical College's many online news resources: its weekly newsletter STAT, its monthly news publication The Reporter, press releases, and other items of interest to academic physicians.
- AAOS What's New This Week is maintained for members of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons and others.
- ACP Observer is a monthly newsletter from the American College of Physicians.
- ACPM's What's New in Preventive Medicine lists the American College of Preventive Medicine's activities.
- ADA In The News comes from the American Diabetes Association.
- AHA What's New(s) is gathered from the American Heart Association's many online news resources.
- APA links to frequently updates resources from the American Psychiatric Association under its Recent Updates and Newstand sections.
- CMA News is issued monthly by the Canadian Medical Association.
- Neurology News is based on the Academy of Neurology's Neurology articles and abstracts presented at Academy annual meeting, 21st - 25th of each month.
- AHCPR Research Activities "includes announcements of Agency products and projects and summarizes research findings from studies supported by the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research." Accessible only by month; its lack of a search engine limits use of this otherwise impressive resource. Monthly, usually mid-month.
- NLM What's New lists National Library of Medicine (mostly) online events and activities.
- NGC What's New links to new National Guideline Clearinghouse practice parameters.
- NCBI What's New from the National Center for BioTechnology Information, was well-maintained until the end of 1998.
- NTP Announcements includes links to press releases and updated references on the National Toxicology Program.
- OSHA What's New lists the most current files from US Dept of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Updated several time a week.
- NIDCD What's New for those interested in administrative happenings within the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders
Medical Meeting/Convention Calendars
Selected medical organizations & academia
Other CME, Meetings, Conventions
- Academic Medicine Major Meetings Calendar lists all AAMC-affiliated meetings chronologically.
- ACP-ASIM regional meetings and ACP-ASIM sponsored meetings and board review courses for internists.
- AAFP meetings for family practitioners.
- AHA meeting links from the American Heart Association.
- ACS events for surgeons.
- ACCP calendar from the American College of Chest Physicians.
- The American College of Cardiology (ACC) Web site insists everyone first register, but it also provides excellent access to ACC '99, including a wonderful online list of ACC 99 abstract presentations. If only all specialty organizations could be as accommodating.
- National Meetings and Abstract Deadlines, which is most helpful in locating meetings by medical specialty organizations, is maintained by the University of Iowa's Virtual Hospital.
- Physician's Guide to the Internet's (PGI's) List of National Medical Meetings provides a quick scan of major medical associations with the date, location, and contact information for their 1999 and 2000 annual meetings. PGI is a Web design company.
- A convention list of lists from the medical librarians at University of Pittsburgh Health Sciences Library is particularly helpful for medical specialties and mental health meetings.
- NEJM's Upcoming Medical Meetings is an extensive database of notices that refer primarily to scholarly clinical meetings.
- AMA's CME Search maintains a database of over 2,000 North American and International conferences, seminars, and workshops. Search by specialty and/or date; surprisingly, the International database is not searchable by location. An intermediate Results page links to individual descriptions of each conference, which usually includes a short description, pricing, CME credit hours, and very rarely a link to its Web site. This is not a complete database of medical conferences, but it is a useful reference for educational conferences within specialties. It is less helpful for looking up a specific conference, and even the International database doesn't cover much outside North America.
- Harvard Medical School's Continuing Education Calendar can be easily accessed by topic or date, or searched by date, specialty, or keyword.
- Johns Hopkins Calendar of Events has listings grouped by month only.
- UCSF's Calendar of Future Courses is accessed by specialty, but has little information otherwise on line.
- Columbia-Presbyterian's calendars, schedules, and workshops puts everything except its CME courses on line; registration for the latter is required, after which the schedule is surface mailed.
Comments or questions for posting?
- SearchCME, which lists over 5,000 U.S. and international medical meetings, is a good first stop. Its browser-specific site allows users to search by specialty, location, or date, or selectively search site sponsors. The results list is chronological and links to basic information about the conference, including fees, CME hours, anticipated number of attendees, and deadline for abstracts.
- Medical Conferences' 7,000+ meetings database accepts searches for keyword, title, dates, and/or location. The results page prioritizes conferences that supplied information to the company, but there is no information other than the conference date and location for the majority of entries. However, the site thoughtfully links to an online form that e-mails a request for conference information. Like SearchCME, this is a comprehensive database of major international and U.S. conferences.
- Conifer's online version of its otherwise fee-based database is divided into specialties, then listed by organization. This is a helpful resource to identify major international conferences, although it's woefully incomplete and dated.
- MeetingNet's Medical Meeting Finder contains a relatively small database and is without Web links to sites or sponsors.
- TSCentral specializes in all aspects of trade shows, seminars, and conventions. Use the advanced search parameters to access the full healthcare database of over 200 entries, which can be further modified by keyword (specialty), date, or type of meeting. The results page links to basic information and event descriptions of interest primarily to event organizers.
- Medscape Conference Schedules is divided into specialty and regional location. Under specialties, conferences are listed with links to detailed information such as a schedule of presentations and presenters. Regional listings include satellite teleconferences, and most of the listings include a short description of each conference, and other information such as CME credits and cost. There are lots of flashing banners celebrating sponsors and pharmaceutical companies, and conferences sponsored by Medscape-affiliated journals.
- Physicians Online's Conference Highlights, a calendar of medical conferences, can be accessed off the home page. Conferences are listed chronologically and accessible by month only; there is no cross-reference by specialty, which weakens the reference significantly. Information includes only the city, a phone number, and rarely a Web site to obtain more information.
- Doctor's Guide to the Internet's CME Event Planner and Sponsor.
- Medconnect Meetings and Conferences is for registered users. Each specialty index (emergency medicine, family medicine, internal medicine pediatrics, and surgery) is divided by month, though listings here too are quite limited.
- Health on the Net (HON) Conferences and Events is a potpourri of clinical, computing, and executive meetings, presented chronologically and each linked to a short description.
- Australia's Health Communication Network Calendar can either be browsed or searched.
of other articles
MCToday Web Lists: