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PubMed Health has a face but does it have a place?

The introduction of PubMed Health has been discussed on several great library blogs:  EagleDawg,  The Krafty Librarian, and Seeing the Picture (Eric Rumsey).

PubMed Health emerged unannounced on the scene and mysteriously started showing up as the first result in Google searches for health information:

Fig. 1 Google search for diabetes with PubMed Health as the first search result under the Ads box.

Well the mystery has been solved, as @ericrumsey said “PubMed Health now has a face” and an about page:

Fig. 2 PubMed Health home page:

Now there is a home page and an explanation, but does this mean there is a place for PubMed Health? Or is it still a duplication of MedlinePlus? The about page states PubMed Health’s has a special focus on ‘comparative effectiveness research.’ What Is Comparative Effectiveness Research.

Great… I think. I really see this information already included on MedlinePlus. Why is there a duplication of resources with similar names? PubMed and PubMed Health? Many of our patrons are already confused by the information and now with the addition of yet another resource that doesn’t seem, at least to me, to have a distinct purpose only adds to the confusion.

Having separate resources with clearly different names makes it easier when educating physicians and the public on the resources. Before distinguishing PubMed as a resource that is primarily used by healthcare professionals andMedlinePlu as a resource that is primarily used by consumers was easy. Now throw in PubMed Health. Wasn’t there enough confusion with having to explain the difference between PubMed, Medline, and MedlinePlu? Again, consumer and health professionals resources are crossing… and why?

It is also interesting to note that PubMed Health, as far as I have found, does not link back to MedlinePlus. Why?  Why is a valuable resources that has already been promoted and marketed to patients now being ignored? MedlinePlus also provides more links to outside resources, links to videos, x-plain version (very important!), and other links not present on PubMed Health.

It is also interesting to note that MedlinePlus is now able to integrate into EMR systems with MedlinePlus Connect, which is excellent! I know there has been a lot of work put into this effort. So then why is a new resource needed?

I just do not get it. I’m sorry. Maybe there is a master plan; however, it has not been communicated. In fact, PubMed Health was first announced by Michelle Krafton her blog, and today’s discovery of the new PubMed Health page was posted by@eagledawg on twitter. Why no official communication from NLM, NCBI, or NIH?

Do I need to make room on my shelves for PubMed Health brochures? Or does PubMed Health have a place?


*Thank you to @eagledawg and @PomegranateLM for information about new PubMed Health home page.

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