Engaging Patients in Their Health Care

UpToDate provides more than 1,500 patient education topics, plus more than 1,000 translated into universal Spanish, that facilitate clinician-patient communication. These materials educate and promote shared decision-making based on medical evidence, clinical recommendations, and patient preference. Engaging patients in their medical care and treatment decisions often reduces costs and leads to better outcomes.

UpToDate patient articles include full-color pictures, graphics, and charts to help the reader understand his or her condition and to reinforce key messages regarding care.

By using UpToDate patient materials, clinicians ensure that the information they provide is consistent with the evidence-based content they use to make clinical decisions and recommendations.

Patients are eager for information, and UpToDate patient topics allow you to provide them with relevant, consistent information to help them care for themselves, family, and friends.

UpToDate Patient Education Material Supports Meaningful Use Stage 2

UpToDate patient education content meets patient-specific Meaningful Use Stage 2 criteria for readability and content. Electronic Health Record (EHR) systems that track the distribution of patient-specific educational resources for unique patients can use the UpToDate topics to meet Meaningful Use Stage 2 quality measures. Topics can typically be emailed directly to the patient, viewed on a patient portal, or printed at the point of care.

The ability to embed UpToDate within the EHR requires an appropriate license. Please consult your UpToDate Account Manager to determine your license type and if your EHR system can use the HL7 Infobutton functionality to track the distribution of patient-specific education resources.

We publish two types of articles specifically for patients:

  • The Basics (Figure 1) — These articles are one to three pages and written according to the principles of Plain Language. They answer the four or five most important questions a person might have about a medical problem and are perfect for readers who want a general overview. These articles are available only to UpToDate subscribers. Browse the samples of “The Basics” level content below:
  • Beyond the Basics (Figure 2) — These articles are five to ten pages and more detailed than The Basics. Beyond the Basics are best for readers who want detailed information and are comfortable with technical medical terms. All Beyond the Basics articles are available to everyone, free of charge. For more information, or to search for a particular topic, visit our Subscriptions for Patients and Caregivers page.

Refer your patients to the free patient site featuring our Beyond the Basics level content by writing an information prescription or installing a free patient search box on your website.

  • UpToDate professional-level information Professional-level information is designed to keep health care professionals up-to-date on the latest medical findings. These articles are thorough and complex and contain references to the underlying research. Professional-level articles are best for people who are comfortable with medical terminology and who want to read the same materials as their clinicians. Patients can purchase weekly or monthly subscriptions to access our professional level information.

Want to learn more about UpToDate Patient information?

Read our Patient Information FAQs for information about finding articles, reading levels, and more.