Miles of information for medical librarians #medlibs

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 and MedlinePlu 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 Kraft on 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.

Comments on: "PubMed Health has a face but does it have a place?" (6)

  1. If it’s any consolation, I don’t get it either.

    • alisha764 said:

      Yes. I’m glad to know I’m not the only one. It might help if the ‘wizard’ behind the curtain would unveil the plan for this great new resource. Maybe there is a purpose and a place, and this is just a result of poor or no communication.

      We will just have to wait and see; however, what do we tell our patrons in the meantime who are seeing PubMed Health on Google searches?


  2. @NCBI did tweet it this morning, but yes, I would have liked more information, too.

    • alisha764 said:

      Thank you! I missed the tweet, and I’m still missing the point or need for PubMed Health.

  3. As I said in my tweet Yo, NLM! Speak Up!

    Thanks for mentioning my article and tweet! For my article link in your first paragraph, I think you want this link:

  4. […] a month since PubMed Commons was first released. I will say that the release was much smoother than PubMed Health’s original release. PubMed Commons was discussed before release, had a great information page, has a twitter […]

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