UpToDate versus DynaMed: a cross-sectional study

17 October, 2021

Dear HIFA colleagues,

DynaMed and UpToDate are perhaps the two best know point-of-care tolls for clinicians worldwide. This new paper concludes 'a preference for UpToDate and a higher confidence in responses, the accuracy of clinical answers in UpToDate was equal to those in DynaMed'.

Citation, abstract and a comment from me below.

CITATION: J Med Libr Assoc. 2021 Jul 01. 109(3): 382-387. UpToDate versus DynaMed: a cross-sectional study comparing the speed and accuracy of two point-of-care information tools. Glyneva Bradley-Ridout et al.


Objective: To compare the accuracy, time to answer, user confidence, and user satisfaction between UpToDate and DynaMed (formerly DynaMed Plus), which are two popular point-of-care information tools.

Methods: A crossover study was conducted with medical residents in obstetrics and gynecology and family medicine at the University of Toronto in order to compare the speed and accuracy with which they retrieved answers to clinical questions using UpToDate and DynaMed. Experiments took place between February 2017 and December 2019. Following a short tutorial on how to use each tool and completion of a background survey, participants attempted to find answers to two clinical questions in each tool. Time to answer each question, the chosen answer, confidence score, and satisfaction score were recorded for each clinical question.

Results: A total of 57 residents took part in the experiment, including 32 from family medicine and 25 from obstetrics and gynecology. Accuracy in clinical answers was equal between UpToDate (average 1.35 out of 2) and DynaMed (average 1.36 out of 2). However, time to answer was 2.5 minutes faster in UpToDate compared to DynaMed. Participants were also more confident and satisfied with their answers in UpToDate compared to DynaMed.

Conclusions: Despite a preference for UpToDate and a higher confidence in responses, the accuracy of clinical answers in UpToDate was equal to those in DynaMed. Previous exposure to UpToDate likely played a major role in participants' preferences. More research in this area is recommended.

Keywords: DynaMed; UpToDate; point of care tools

DOI: https://doi.org/10.5195/jmla.2021.1176

URL: http://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34629966

Comment (Neil): The participants in this study were all based in Canada. It would be interesting to run a similar study on clinicians in different regions. How useful are the two tools in low-resource settings? I think both UpToDate and Dynamed provide free or low-cost access to clinicians in LMICs. Can anyone comment on these questions? Which tool(s) do you find most useful in your practice?

I would also note that any study that compares two commercial products needs to be thoroughly assessed before taking conclusions at face value. The peer review process is an important step in this process but is not infallible.

Neil Pakenham-Walsh, HIFA Coordinator, neil@hifa.org www.hifa.org