In addition to the features available in topics, UpToDate® also provides many other useful features. See the following for further information.
Drug interactions program (online only)
Through the drug interactions program, you can review all interactions for a selected medication. You can also enter a patient-specific regimen to analyze potential interactions and the severity of the interaction. Additionally, you can select a drug interaction result to obtain detailed information on patient management.
To access and use the drug interactions program:
- From the header or from the drug interactions section of any drug information topic, click the Drug Interactions link. Click the Click here to continue link to close the drug information disclaimer.
- Enter a drug name and click Lookup.
- Enter additional drug names if you are interested in their interactions.
- Click on a single drug name to display the complete list of interactions for that item.
- Click Analyze to see potential interactions between items in the list.
- View interaction detail by clicking on a link.
If you search on a drug name in UpToDate® and a Drug Interactions link appears in the search results, you can click on that link to access the drug interactions program with the drug name pre-populated.
Table of Contents
An alphabetical listing of all topics in each specialty in UpToDate® is available in both the online and desktop computer versions. To view the Table of Contents online, click the Contents link at the top of the page.
For the desktop application, the Contents feature can be added to the toolbar for quick access (Click here for details on toolbar setup).
Click on Contents to bring you to a list of the different medical specialties included in UpToDate. Clicking on a specialty will bring you to a list of the sections for that specialty.
For example, select "Endocrinology and Diabetes" and then click on "Diabetes mellitus" to view all topics included in the Diabetes mellitus section. You can then click on a topic title in that section to open a topic.
Our physician editors have made it easy for you to stay current through the What's New feature. This feature provides you with a summary of the most important updates that have been added since the last release. These updates represent, in our editors' view, the most important new information added in recent weeks. They include Practice Changing UpDates, a compilation of studies with important or immediate implications for how clinicians practice. You can view this information by clicking What's New on the toolbar. You can also click on PCUs (Practice Changes UpDates) on the toolbar.
For the desktop application, the What's New feature can be added to the toolbar for quick access (Click here for details on toolbar setup).
About UpToDate® patient information
UpToDate® offers hundreds of 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:
- Integrated 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®
Update schedule and editorial review
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:
- Through the search facility add the words 'patient info' to your search query (for example, search on "patient info asthma").
- 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.
- After logging in, 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 Benefits for Patients page. Patients can search for information using the search facility. Patients can also click on "view patient-level table of contents" directly below the Search box to view all of our patient information topics by medical category.
All topics can be printed or e-mailed.
Recent searches and topics list
You can display a list of recently-run searches and recently-viewed topics from which you can click on a search entry to rerun the search or click on a topic title to redisplay the topic, as follows:
- In UpToDate® online, click the arrow control located at the right side of the search box, then select the desired search entry or topic title from the drop-down list.
- From a desktop computer installation, use the History button on the top navigation bar to display a popup of recent searches and topics. Click any of the items in the History popup to be directed to the results (click here for details on toolbar setup). Additionally, at any search box, as you begin entering a search expression, your recent searches will be displayed at the top as you type. You can select the recent search to see the results. Or you can prevent this recent search from displaying again by clicking remove.
- On the mobile apps, click the History icon on the UpToDate home screen menu to access a list of all recently viewed topics. Click on the topic title to view the topic again. To clear this list, click Clear in the upper right
ECG test and tutorials
UpToDate® includes electrocardiograms that can be accessed from some topics that discuss specific diseases or arrhythmia. You can test your knowledge by running a self-test, as follows:
- Type ECG test in the search box.
- Click Go to display a list of matching search results.
- Choose one of the ECG test topics (for example, "Intermediate ECG test") by clicking on the title.
- After reading the first case history, click the show ECG question 1 link to open a window that displays the Intermediate case 1 ECG strip, along with a normal ECG strip.
- Try to make an accurate diagnosis based on the Intermediate ECG case 1 strip, then close the window that displays the ECG strips.
- To see if your diagnosis is correct, click the show ECG answer 1 link.
- Close the answer window, then continue with the next test question.
UpToDate® includes interactive topics that allow you to enter the values in commonly used formulas to obtain numerical data, such as urinary protein excretion estimation or results for LDL based on the Friedewald equation for low density lipoprotein. There are also topics that allow you to estimate the severity of community acquired pneumonia in a given patient based upon the presence or absence of major risk factors.
To access calculator topics, click Calculators on the toolbar to display the Contents: Calculators page. Then you can click on a particular specialty to view the calculator topics related to that specialty..
You can also access calculator topics by clicking on Calculators in the Table of Contents, by searching on the term "calculators", or by searching on a particular subject.
The following procedure provides an example of how to access and use a calculator topic:
1. Click Calculators on the toolbar.
2. Click on the Cardiovascular Medicine Calculators link and then click on "Calculator: Friedewald Equation for Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL-C)".
3. Specify the total cholesterol, HDL, and triglyceride levels. Use the drop-down lists to select the appropriate units in each case.
The calculator displays the LDL level, based on the values you have specified. If desired, you can change the units in which the result is displayed by selecting a different value from the drop-down list.
4. If you want to display the results to a different level of decimal precision, select the desired number of decimal places in the Decimal Precision box.
Personalize Navigation (desktop only)
You can add/edit links that will appear in the header navigation. Just go to My Account (on the top right side) and go to 'Toolbar Options'. You can select from the items show below and make changes at any time. This allows you to place your most helpful and frequently used site resources within easy access.
- Practice Changing UpDates
- Table of Contents
- What's New
- Patient Information