EHRs work with MedLinePlus

Previously, we discussed the AMA’s complaints about Electronic Health Records (EHRs). Now, from the National Library of Medicine (NLM), comes more optimistic news about how they can be useful for patients.

Screen Shot 2014-09-23 at 12.08.09 AMThe NLM’s MedlinePlus Connect links the diagnosis given on an EMR directly to MedlinePlus, instantly giving you details of what your condition is. However, the NLM does caution that in order to get the integrating system up and running you’ll “need to work with the technical representative or staff member who can add links to your EHR system.”

Fortunately, even without an EHR, you can easily use Medline Plus on a desktop computer or mobile device. It’s completely free and has information on a wide range of medical topics, including details on prescription medications and dietary supplements, as well as interactive tutorials and a medical dictionary. All of the information is written in lay language—and that includes, through external links—44 languages in addition to English. If you can understand professional level medical literature, you’ll also want to check out MEDLINE/PubMed, the NLM’s site for biomedical professionals, which offers free summaries of 22 million articles from 5000 biomedical journals, many (but not all) of which link to free full articles.

For those of you who like to know everything before you go under the knife, MedlinePlus also includes videos of surgical procedures. Um, we’ll just stick to picking out get well cards, thanks.