Point-of-Care Databases

Ebling staff would like to draw your attention to two terrifically useful databases, DynaMed and PEMSoft.

They are called “point-of-care” databases, and it’s that distinction that makes them so important to emergency room staff, residents, nurses, practitioners and clinicians at the forefront of primary care.

is a clinical reference tool created by physicians for physicians and other health care professionals. With clinically-organized summaries for more than 3,200 topics, DynaMed is the only evidence-based reference shown to answer most clinical questions during practice. PEMSoft is an interactive clinical library and decision support system designed for pediatric emergency, critical care and primary care practitioners.

We talked to librarians, Stephen Johnson and Chris Hooper-Lane about these two important resources.

Advertised as a “decision support system,” Stephen suggested that PEMSoft is especially compelling because it is authored by practitioners. Stephen‘s favorite features are the Signs & Symptoms Topics and the Procedures Topics. Within each Signs & Symptoms, for example, Ataxia; there are the categories of Definition, Classification, History (-taking), Physical Examination, Diagnostic Studies, Differential Diagnosis, Treatment, Types of Ataxia, References…and the like.

The Procedures Topics describe everything from gastric lavage to pulse oximetry- giving equally straight forward instructions for penile zipper release, which apparently happens frequently enough to warrant inclusion in the database.

Finishing off the easily navigable PEMSoft are Resuscitation tables (Rhesus Tool Module), a Formulary, various calculators, quick reference topics, triage, and toxicology topics- all easily navigable from PEMSoft’s home page tab. Of particular note are the Formulary dosage recommendations, meant for infants and children, and the various ways of administering medication to young patients. A handy alphabetical listing on the right side of screen acts as an alternative to the conventional search field. EDExam wrote: “Built over many years, this site beats any other textbook, app, or website on paediatric emergencies, hands down.” For those working with children, it’s not to be missed.

Chris is impressed with DynaMed and what it can provide for busy clinicians, especially those who must make on the spot decisions at point-of-care. With little time to do research, DynaMed gives them the confidence to make decisions at the bedside or during the clinic visit. He said that three areas that DynaMed covers particularly well; Family Medicine, Pediatrics, Internal Medicine, and that those practitioners are the ones that advocated for securing DynaMed as a database for all our patrons.

As Chris describes it, “DynaMed is an encyclopedia of medicine, basically drawing off the published literature…constantly updating and staying current.” DynaMed looks for important articles and then writes its entry, on say, myocardial infarction, based on those articles and the evidence they cite. So this is different than UpToDate, where an “expert” is chosen to write the entry. DynaMed is more literature and evidence based.

Bottom line? Choose DynaMed to find the latest on diseases from AAT deficiency to zoster. Click on the categories of:
Related Summaries
General Information
Causes and Risk Factors
Complications and Associated Conditions
History and Physical
Prevention and Screening
Guidelines and Resources
Patient Information
ICD-9/ICD-10 Codes
for competent, transferrable, applicable information for you and your patients.

Both can be accessed through the DATABASES column on Ebling’s home page.

For more about using the databases, or for their available apps, contact Stephen, sjohnson@library.wisc.edu or Chris, chooper@library.wisc.edu

Further Reading: