Dangerous Liaisons - UW Libraries

August 18, 2017

Clinical Effectiveness and PubMed Health

Patricia Devine

The National Library of Medicine (NLM)’s PubMed Health is a resource for consumers, clinicians, students and researchers on prevention and treatment of diseases and conditions. Clinical Effectiveness research is the focus of this database, providing answers to “What works?” in medical and health care. PubMed Health is based on systematic reviews of clinical trials. These clinical effectiveness reviews can show what treatments and prevention methods have been proven to work — and what remains unknown. Searching PubMed Health also searches PubMed, NLM’s bibliographic index to the periodical biomedical literature.

But unlike PubMed, PubMed Health contains guidelines, free and full text, from several trusted partners. The search option is simple and based on keyword searches, with no Medical Subject Heading (MeSH) terms. This resource is useful for clinicians in private practice or rural areas who may not have access to a university and all its resources. Search results can be limited to Clinician Information. For example, try “pregnancy hypertension” as a search. The original search retrieves 445 items.

Using the “Article Type” filter allows us to select “Clinician Information.”

Our search results are now manageable, and we have just what we need: Hypertension in Pregnancy: The Management of Hypertensive Disorders During Pregnancy. This guideline is provided by NICE, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence in the UK. Other partners such as the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), Cochrane, and the National Cancer Institute also provide guidelines and content.

We could also have selected Systematic Review as an article type, to compare treatments; or Consumer information for use in patient education. Healthcare consumers who want more detailed information than they can find in NLM’s consumer health database, MedlinePlus, are well-served by PubMed Health.

Another useful feature of PubMed Health, aimed at practitioners and researchers, is the “For Researchers” tab. Included is more information on clinical effectiveness and effectiveness research methods. PubMed Health has something for everyone! Healthcare consumers, students, clinicians and researchers can all benefit from this resource.