What is UpToDate® patient information?
About UpToDate patient information
UpToDate offers nearly 1,500 patient education topics about the most common medical conditions and procedures. These topics encapsulate the same information included in the materials provided for clinicians. As such, they give readers the information they need to actively participate in decisions related to their care.
Goals and objectives
For healthcare providers, our goal is to provide patient education materials that can be easily accessed and used with patients at the point of care, enabling shared medical decision making.
For patients, our aim is to provide information that can answer medical questions and help the patient make informed medical decisions in partnership with their family and healthcare team.
UpToDate patient information topics
Patients have varying information needs. Some want just a brief overview, while others want more in-depth information. UpToDate meets the varying information needs of patients by offering both The Basics and Beyond the Basics:
- The Basics — These topics are 1-3 pages in length and are written in simple language. They answer the four or five most important questions that a person might have about a medical problem. The Basics topics are best for readers who want a general overview.
- Beyond the Basics — These topics are 5-10 pages long and are more detailed than the topics in The Basics. Beyond the Basics topics are best for readers who want a lot of detailed information and who are comfortable with some technical medical terms.
Our patient information topics also offer:
- Full-color pictures, graphics, and charts to help the reader understand difficult medical concepts
- Extensive referencing, with links to topic abstracts
- Links to other related topics and related search terms in UpToDate
Like our clinician-level materials, patient information topics are updated continuously, so they reflect the most recent medical literature. All patient information topics are written by professional medical writers with advanced degrees, and then edited by our in-house physician editors. They are also reviewed by an external physician author and section editor. Thus, our patient information is current, accurate, and evidence-based.
With UpToDate online, clinicians can access patient information topics as follows:
- In the search box, select "Patient" in the dropdown menu.
- When viewing search results in UpToDate on the web, in the left hand navigation click on Patient to prioritize patient information topics to the top of your search results list.
- Click Patient Info on the toolbar, then click on the medical category of interest. NOTE: For the desktop application, the Patient Info option must be configured to show on the toolbar.
- Click Patient in the topic tools area at upper-right in a topic to go directly to the Information for Patients section, where you will find links to any related patient information topics. Note: The Patient tool is available only in professional-level topics for which there is related patient information.
With the UpToDate Mobile Apps, the Patient tab is available at the top of the search results list.
Beyond the Basics patient articles are available free to the public. For more information, or to search on a topic, visit our Subscriptions for Patients & Caregivers page.
All topics can be printed or e-mailed.
How does UpToDate for Patients differ from other online medical information resources?
UpToDate is the trusted resource of hundreds of thousands of physicians around the world and the majority of academic medical centers in the United States. UpToDate has also been endorsed by leading medical societies in the United States. These subscribers and societies recognize the high quality and value of the information in UpToDate.
What makes UpToDate different?
- A rigorous editorial and peer-review process to ensure the clarity and accuracy of the content.
- Participation by over 5,700 expert physicians in writing and editing the content.
- A continuous updating process to ensure that all content represents current practices based on the most recent medical evidence.
- UpToDate accepts no advertising or sponsorships, a policy that helps to ensure that the content of UpToDate remains unbiased by any commercial interests.
Key features of UpToDate patient information
- Two levels of information, The Basics and Beyond the Basics, to meet the varying information needs of patients.
- Enables patients to:
- Learn more about a medical condition.
- Better understand management and treatment options.
- Share in the medical decision-making process with their health care provider and actively participate in their care.
- Saves time and improves patient communication.
- Patient information is evidence-based and concordant with the information that clinicians use and trust.
- With UpToDate patient information, clinician communications and patient handouts will be aligned.
- Adheres to The Joint Commission standards for supporting the patient's ability to understand and act on health information, through the use of plain language principles and pictures to illustrate procedures and/or conditions.
- Can support clinicians' efforts to meet Meaningful Use criteria regarding patient education. UpToDate patient information can be accessed through EMRs and other clinical information systems.
Can patients access professional-level topics from UpToDate?
Yes, patients can subscribe to gain full access to professional-level content from UpToDate. Both one-week and one-month subscriptions are available. Subscribers receive a user name and password that permit access to UpToDate from any computer with Internet access.
Will my personal information be kept private?
Can I purchase individual professional-level topics?
Professional-level topics are not available for individual purchase. Subscriptions provide access to the entire UpToDate database, so that you can access all of applicable information relating to a condition.
Can I place a link to UpToDate on my website?
We welcome links to our website, including links to our home page, patient information topics, and professional-level previews. See our linking policy.
Can I contact UpToDate regarding questions about my health?
The discussions in UpToDate patient information are for your general information and are not a substitute for medical advice. You should contact your physician or other healthcare provider with any questions about your health, treatment, or care, or to discuss the information you have read in UpToDate. Please do not contact UpToDate or the physician authors of these materials.
Can I access patient information from an UpToDate Mobile App?
Yes. Patient Information is available to all UpToDate subscribers with mobile access.