Can an electronic database help busy physicians answer clinical questions?

Blackman D, Cifu A, Levinson W. Can an electronic database help busy physicians answer clinical questions? J Gen Intern med 2002; 17Suppl1:220.

A pilot controlled trial of the impact of UpToDate was conducted at the University of Chicago among 10 physicians in four primary care clinics. Physicians were randomly assigned to use their usual information resources with or without UpToDate. Clinic sessions were monitored by an investigator and data was collected on 678 patient visits over 5 weeks.

  • Among physicians who had access to UpToDate, 89% of questions were answered; 78% of answers changed patient care. UpToDate users answered 79% more of their questions than did physicians who did not have access and 75% more of these answers led to a change in clinical decision making.