Wednesday, May 28, 2008

How the medical web has changed - a six year retrospective

It's been about six years since I've updated my personal medical notes reference page. These are references for a family physician, not for a patient.

References for Medical Notes

Revised: May 2008.

Most of the books link to MD Consult which I access through my UMN account. Sadly, even the AFP references are now access controlled. MD Consult, Harrison's Online, TheraDoc and more are freely available, as of May 2008, for persons able to register with MerckMedicus. Note that the MerckMedicus web page has trouble with modern browsers and especially with tabs.

Yes, it's board review time.

A six year editorial life cycle means one or two links went bad.

Ok, about half of them.

Here are the sorts of things that survived:

  • Pharmaceutical company resources
  • MD Consult: barely, but content owned by it and MerckMedicus are now the bulk of my links
  • NIH resources (PubMed, PDQ, CancerNet, etc)
  • Non-US resources
  • American Family Physician (but it's going behind a paywall)
  • One or two amateur (in the sense of unpaid work) sites, like Scott Moses FP Notebook.

Here are the things that went away

  • The "Virtual Hospital". This was one of the very first medically oriented information resources on the early web -- it showed up a year or two after the first browser I used (not Netscape, before that!). It's just patient education now, at their peak they had an unsustainably wide set of medical reference resources.
  • Most of the American resources that lacked a clear revenue stream (volunteer efforts, academic projects without a maintenance, stream etc).
  • Anything that focused on how to do a procedure.

Within the US the survivors have a business model of some sort. Nobody seems to want to touch procedures any more -- I wonder if that's just my sample or if there are more litigation fears. Outside of the US things are more persistent. Even many of the surviving sites don't handle bad links very well.

I'll have to try to do another recap six years from now ...

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