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Answering Clinical Questions in Real Time: Clinical Resources

Our resources have many features that will help you to find accurate answers to clinical questions quickly. This guide accompanies the Library's class "Answering Clinical Questions in Real Time."


Note: Items marked ** within the pages in this Guide are the top choices for the quickest answers.

Filtered, summarized monographs: Answer clinical questions in a concise, easily accessible format. Organize information for quick browsing. Use when you have less than 15 minutes to find information.

Examples: Clinical Inquiries in the Journal of Family Practice, FirstConsult, Five Minute Clinical Consult, Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database, and Up To Date [Up to Date is not available off campus].

Information Aggregators: Go beyond the basics and scan collected information for relevant content. One-stop access to a wide variety of material. Save time by simultaneously searching textbooks, PubMed, Cochrane, National Guidelines Clearinghouse, image resources, drug reference databases, risk calculators or other tools, or other specialized resources. Allow at least 20-30 minutes when you use these resources.

Examples:  MD Consult, Micromedex, and STAT!Ref

Critically Appraised Information: MD prepared critical summaries of the evidence. Use when you want to keep up on the literature, but don't have time to read the whole article.

Examples: ACP Journal Club, and some parts of The Cochrane Library

General Tips

Ask answerable questions

  • Ask background questions in clinical resources (when you need quick factual information or recommendations for care)
  • Ask foreground questions using PubMed clinical queries (when you need research journal articles because there are no guidelines for care)

Identify what type of question you are asking - are you seeking?:

  • disease information (diagnosis, treatment,, prognosis)
  • differential diagnosis (symptom, lab result)
  • drug or alternative medicine info
  • common calculations
  • lab values
  • evidence based recommendation
  • patient education materials

Where will you start your search? (use the ** resources in the tabs above first)
Begin with the disease, treatment, test, or symptom.
Don’t abbreviate & use correct spelling (most resources don’t offer a spell checker)
How long will you search before you ask a librarian? Searching for information is the librarians’ job, applying the answer to practice is your job! Get help, don't struggle:

  • Use the help files from the resource you are searching
  • Ask Us

Clinical Tools

View the following tutorials and Resource Guides created by your librarians to learn more about the Clinical Tools that the Library offers to quickly answer background questions while in a clinical setting.

PubMed Tips

Review some of our PubMed Tips.  They include personalizing PubMed, saving searches, getting one-click access to our online journals no matter how you access PubMed, and creating customized views of PubMed results.
Always start from the Library's website to link to PubMed.  This ensures that you will have access to our 30,000+ journal subscriptions and easy access to full text.  There are several high yield productivity tools available in PubMed:
  • Use the Single Citation Matcher when you only have an incomplete reference.  There is a link to this tool in the middle of the front page of the PubMed website under the header "PubMed Tools"  Fill in a few blanks and click Search.  For example, try
    JAMA as the journal, 2013 for the date, and migraine as a word in the title of the article. 


Use the Related Citations link in PubMed. Related citations allow you to find the best matches to a relevant article. It appears under each record in the search results list, or in a sidebar on the right in some display modes.  To see how it works, click here, then click the link to see all of the Related Citations.


Click on a link below to launch a PubMed search. Review the results, use Limits to refine the search, or add yourtopic AND (must be caps) to further narrow the search. Submit a topic for a shortcut to Kristen DeSanto. She will email a shortcut back to you and post it below.

Google Tips

  • Expert Googling   Includes tips on using Google Scholar. 
  • More Google   A guide to the services, tools, and special search engines offered by Google by clicking on the "More" link.