In Nepal, a pediatrician determines the differential diagnosis for a sick child with fever and
abdominal pain. In Boston, a Harvard medical student performs background research for a case
study with the most up-to-date literature. In Albuquerque, a woman suffering from migraines
reads about the side effects of the medication she is taking.
Although at opposite ends of the globe, these three individuals can simultaneously take advantage
of impressive, accurate medical information available by using the Emedicine web
site located at www.emedicine.com.
The Emedicine site, developed by Scott Plantz, M.D. and Jonathan Adler,
M.D., offers free, high quality, medical information on such topics as emergency medicine,
pediatrics, internal medicine and ophthalmology. The online references also integrate photos,
x-rays, video and audio with the text to allow for a new dimension that a printed text cannot offer.
But what sets this site apart from other medical information databases is the cutting-edge nature
of the information available. Since the doctors who author these texts are able to log on to the site
and update their chapters any time, day or night, Emedicine delivers the most contemporary
medical information in an accessible medium with no cost to users. Since almost forty percent of
the searches done by the general public ask health care-related questions and the number one
concern of these inquiries is the questionable quality of the information found, Emedicine has
found a way to educate both doctors and the general public.
"With the current situation of managed care, many patients and their families are seeking additional
medical information on their own. They want to be educated about health and disease, and
Emedicine is a perfect resource," said Mike Zevitz, M.D. the Editor-in-Chief of Emedicine: Internal
Updates are done through the Group Publishing System, also known as GPS. This technology
allows authors continuous access to their works. GPS was designed and developed by Plantz
and Adler in conjunction with the software development team of Jeff and Joanne Berezin.
"GPS software permits thousands of authors around the globe to contribute simultaneously to
multi-contributor reference resources in a highly structured and organized fashion," said Joanne
Berezin, Vice President and Technical Director for Emedicine. "We have developed a flexible, yet
controlled online authoring environment, which we assume will soon be applied well beyond the
field of medicine into other areas in which multi-author tasks are commonplace."
The development of such encompassing and accessible clinical information has been a major
issue for health care Internet Web sites. Emedicine's first completed text, Emedicine: Emergency
Medicine, offered 650 chapters on key topics, there are other textbooks in planning on the Emedicine site that include: surgery and medicine, dermatology,
ophthalmology, neurology, pediatrics and veterinary medicine. .
While the Emedicine materials are intended primarily for professional medical audiences, these
resources are available to the general public. They can be used by interested laypersons in
exactly the same way as major textbooks in a good library.