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Wednesday Oct 31, 2018

Finding clinical information quickly at the point of care: four tips and shortcuts

A patient comes to see you after visiting the public health clinic, where she received a positive tuberculosis (TB) skin test. The clinic nurse advised the patient to begin treatment, but because the patient is pregnant, she wants to make sure it is safe. How can you quickly identify the recommended treatment in this situation?

1. Use Google more effectively.

For the clinical scenario described above, searching for tuberculosis in pregnancy is too broad. Instead, zero in on the resource you’re looking for by adding more search terms, such as CDC tuberculosis treatment pregnancy. This search yields a web page titled TB Treatment & Pregnancy(www.cdc.gov), which recommends “Isoniazid (INH) daily or twice weekly for 9 months, with pyridoxine (vitamin B6) supplementation” for latent TB infection. Depending on the topic, you may even want to add the terms AAFP, AFP, or FPM to help narrow your Google search.

2. Save your favorite resources for quick access from any location.

Creating bookmarks, or favorites, on your Internet browser is one method for doing this; however, these favorites are only available on the computer on which you created them and aren't portable. As an alternative, sites such as iGoogle(www.igoogleportal.com) or the AAFP’s Favorites feature allow you to create web-based, personalized lists of your favorite resources, which you can access from any computer by logging in to your account.

3. Learn basic commands and shortcuts.

• Use the “Find” shortcut (Ctrl + F on a PC, or Cmd + F on a Mac) to quickly search for a keyword on a web page or in a document.

• To multitask between several programs on your computer, use the Alt + Tab command on a PC, or Cmd + Tab on a Mac.

• If you have multiple programs open and need to see your desktop, right click on the bottom task bar on a PC to “minimize all windows” or “show desktop.” Or use Win + D on a PC, or fn + F11 on a Mac.

4. Have a go-to, evidence-based resource.

Most physicians are familiar with online, evidence-based clinical resources such as UpToDate, DynaMed Plus, Essential Evidence Plus, etc., but familiarity does not equal proficiency. Pick at least one of these resources and get so comfortable using it that you can complete a clinical information search in about a minute.


Adapted from “How to Find Clinical Information Quickly at the Point of Care.”

Posted at 09:00AM Oct 31, 2018 by FPM Editors

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