Once you know the resources you need, the easiest starting point is the Online Clinical Library and is the link available on most hospital computers. However, the following information will be helpful as you get to know the resources and understand their strengths and limits.
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A clinical question is one that asks for specific information in order to make a clinical decision. It differs from a background question because the patient's needs and desires about treatment or other medical issues will influence your question and how you decide what information will apply. It is important to come up with a good clinical question because it can help direct you to resources, identify the best terms to search with, and can help you decide upon an appropriate article. A helpful mnemonic is PICO:
We have many tools for answering clinical questions and no one tool will be the perfect tool 100% of the time. It is important to take a minute to figure out your search strategy and initial keywords. Using PICO as a frame-work, it will help you identify your key terms to use plus remind you of important factors to keep in mind when evaluating the resources.
For more detail on these resources, please see the box below
For more details on these resources, please see below.
Symptoms and differential diagnositic information is often buried in a number of our resources. However, a few tools (both online and for your smart phone/PDA) have special tools to help with this process.
Looking up information about the results of lab tests are mostly background questions. The following resources are easy to use tools to find very reliable information about the normal values, reference ranges, and more.