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UpToDate Database User Guide

UpToDate® is an evidence-based, physician-authored clinical decision support resource which clinicians trust to make the right point-of-care decisions. More than 5,100 world-renowned physician authors, editors and peer reviewers use a rigorous editorial p

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.

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.

Accessing UpToDate® patient information

With UpToDate® online, clinicians can access patient information topics as follows:

  1. Add the words 'patient info' to your search query (for example, search on "patient info asthma").
  2. 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.
  3. After logging in, click Patient Info on the toolbar, then click on the medical category of interest.
  4. 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.
  5. With the UpToDate mobile apps, the Patient tab is at the top of the search results list.

Beyond the Basics patient articles are available free to the public. 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.

The information on this page was copied from the UptoDate website. Please visit UptoDate to learn more.

Patient Education