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Clinical Clerkships Resources: Clinical Info Sources

Resources for UC San Diego School of Medicine's third year medical students.

Literature Databases

Databases - like Pubmed, PsycINFO, Web of Science, or CINAHL - provide a great quantity of information including the latest discoveries.  You will find a variety of types of resources, from Systematic Reviews - to Randomized Controlled Trials - to Observational Studies - to Editorials.  No other resource has the breadth or depth of clinical information that PubMed has, however, for the most part, the information is unfiltered - you must process the information yourself unless you use a systematic review.  There are other tools that cover similar material but have a slightly different focus:

Unfiltered Resources

Cumulative Index to Nursing & Allied Health Literature

 therapy, prevention, prognosis

Content: A helpful tool is the Evidence-based Care Sheets which provide a quick overview about what is know and can be done about the disease or disorder and includes references. Use: EBM Care Sheets as a quick yet detailed overview. Great resoruces for information about patient complicance.

American Pychological Association

 therapy, prevention, diagnosis


Content: Includes articles from all areas of psychology & psychiatry including the psychological aspects of medicine. Use: identify and locate articles in areas related to medicine. Use the "methodology" limit to specify the type of study.

National Library of Medicine

  therapy, diagnosis, prognosis, harm

(use the Library's link to get the UC-eLinks button)



Content: Most popular database forliterature in the medical sciences. Includes pre-clinical to clinical topics in the fields of medicine, dentistry, nursing, psyciatry, and public health. Archive of articles goes back into the 1950s.

Use: Identify key primary (RCT) and secondary articles in medicine and related fields.

Many of the expert opinion & background info sources base their information on articles found in PubMed.

Filtered Resources

Filtered resources are created by experts and can be general or specific to a certain field.  No one resource will answer every question you have.  Many resources are available - the ones below are the ones that are used most frequently at UCSD and/or are UCSD subscriptions.  Check them all out and see which works best in different situations.

ACP Journal Club

 therapy, diagnosis, prevention, etiology, clnical prediction guides



Content: Summaries of articles (original studies & systematic reviews) with "value-added" structured abstracts & comments in the field of General Internal Medicine & related sub-specialties. Archive is back to 2000 and out-dated studies are removed.

Nicely summarized clinical questions for each review.

Use: A quick overview of highly relevant articles for internists, hospitalists, and emergency medicine specialists. Information is synthesised to quickly grab pertinent details from the articles for use in the clnical environment. No pediatric coverage - adults only.

Cochrane Library: DARE
Database of Review of Effects

 therapy, prevention, diagnosis


Content: A Database of Reviews of Effectiveness -  Critical assessments of high quality systematic reviews and references to published systematic reviews. Use: Locating evaluations of systematic review or finding references to systematic reviews. To limit to DARE, use the adva

Cochrane Library: Systematic Reviews

prevention, therapy

Content: 4,000 + systematic reviews using meta-analysis of highest quality research studies (usually RCTs) from 50 Cochrane review groups.

Use: The gold standard for finding the best medical evidence. Reviews focus on treatment and prevention. Small database limits the number of topics included.  To limit to Systematic Reviews, use the advanced search page.


National Guideline Clearinghouse
Agency for Healthcare Research & Quality

   therapy, diagnosis, prognosis, harm
Content: Comprehensive database of evidence-based clinical practice guidelines and documents produced by AHRQ, AMA, National Medical Organizations, & American Association of Health Plans. Use: To locate evidence-based, objective, and detailed information on clinical practice guidelines. Also includes tool for comparing guidelines and links for other online full-text guidelines.

Natural Medicines
International Research Collaboration

 therapy, prevention and control


Content: Synthesis of data on complementary and alternative therapies in herbs & supplements, conditions, and alternative modalities. Validated rating scales evaluate the quality of available evidence. Comprehensive monographys facilitate clinical decision making. Use: Good source to find objective evidence based information for alternative and complementary therapies. Easy access rating scales provide additional insight into the strength

PubMed Clinical Queries
National Library of Medicine

   therapy, diagnosis, prognosis, harm


Content:  Pubmed's "Clinical Queries" are a set of pre-formateed filters for retrieving methodologically sound and the higheset level or research for the type of search selected.

You can also look for just Systematic Reviews from this form.

Use:  Easy way to locate evidence-based studies from PubMed.  Searches can be set to search with a narrow focus or more broadly.  One of the few resources that provides access to all 4 types of evidence-based queries.