Search Strategies for Patients, Families, and Individuals

The internet is a useful and effective tool for individuals (or patients, family and friends),  who are seeking medical information and trying to learn its significance.

Public access to medical information was a problem in the past because this specialized knowledge was distributed almost exclusively through professional journals and texts.  Now, with the advent of the internet, the public uses the Web extensively to educate themselves about diagnosis, potential treatment, and possible prognosis.

There are, however, many problems concerning reliability of the information found on the internet. Since the internet is an open forum, an organization can present any material they wish without verification of factual claims. To use the internet intelligently, one must be aware of how to determine if information gleaned is accurate and current.

Using recommendations found on this website ( and its associated database ( is one way to be confident that the information you discover is authoritative and current.  We present search sites with well-established reputations for providing excellent clinical summaries of the medical advice you may be seeking.

As a relatively easy way of finding clinical material, we suggest using the websites below to begin your search. After you have researched subjects on these sites, you may want to use our database,,  to find additional information regarding the facts you are seeking.

Recommended Initial Search Sites
Excellent clinical summaries written for the public.  Drug summaries, symptom analysis,and treatment descriptions also presented.
Outstanding general medical presentations with disease descriptions, symptom checker, drug guides, and treatment explanations.
Excellent site with comprehensive medical references
This encyclopedia is a good way to learn about medical terms and their significance. Excellent summaries of various diseases and medical technical terms.
Great website to check for first aid advice.
MedlinePlus Medical Dictionary

For more peer reviewed medical websites, visit:

Search Strategies for the Medical Professional

Efficiency should be the key element in the search strategy of the professional since your time is at a premium.  There have been remarkable improvements in ways to search the medical literature over the past few years – whether the purpose is clinical applications or research endeavors.

The release of Medscape’s eMedicine site several years ago added greatly to the efficiency of finding clinical summaries for professional web searches.  Their format is standardized, clearly presented, authoritative, and comprehensive.

The development of Google Scholar adds significantly to the efficiency of medical literature searches. It presents very relevant and comprehensive literature references.

PubMed is still an excellent reference site and has the distinct advantage of presenting citation references with each journal or other literature listing. These citation references can expand  your search efficiency greatly.

Wikipedia is considered by some professionals to be “suspect” and not to be taken seriously.  But, in fact, this site has excellent and very helpful articles on an amazing variety of medical topics.  The author is not always presented but the material is clearly peer-reviewed.

Our recommendations for the most reliable websites for use by the medical professional are:

For more peer reviewed medical websites, visit: