PubMed Health: A New Web Site for Clinical Effectiveness Information

The National Library of Medicine (NLM) and the National Center for Biotechnology Information recently released PubMed Health, a Web site that specializes in presenting clinical effectiveness research. Clinical effectiveness research is designed to inform clinicians and consumers what treatments and prevention methods have been proven to work and what remains unknown.

Included on the Web site are easy-to-read summaries for consumers as well as full systematic reviews. Reviews from 2003 to the present are included from information partners such as the Agency for Health Care Research and Quality, The Cochrane Collaboration, and the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence guidelines program. Before PubMed Health, these and other reviews were scattered across the Web without being collected centrally. PubMed Health gathers the reviews together in one searchable resource. Though it currently contains only about one-third of the quality systematic reviews published by public agencies and journals worldwide, it is projected to grow as the body of knowledge expands.

In addition to summaries and systematic reviews, PubMed Health includes a “Behind the Headlines” section, detailing the science behind current news headlines, a medical encyclopedia, and a section that defines clinical effectiveness research in simple terms for consumers.

For more information on PubMed Health, see “PubMed Health—A Growing Resource for Clinical Effectiveness Information,” in the September-October issue of the NLM Technical Bulletin.

PubMed Health does not replace MedlinePlus, a health Web site for patients and their families, which provides general information about diseases, conditions, and wellness issues.

~ Melissa Ratajeski