Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Are Your Doctors Addicted to UpToDate?

Recently there has been some discussion on MEDLIB-L regarding the cost of providing institutional access to UpToDate. This discussion along with UpToDate's heavy handed tactics always seems to crop up every couple of months. Currently the discussion seems to be centered around two things. Their heavy handed license agreements and the cost.

Apparently there are some institutions starting to consider eliminating institutional access leaving their physicians to pay for the product on their own. UpToDate bases their prices on the institution's total number of outpatient and inpatients. No wonder some very big and successful institutions are rethinking the cost of UpToDate. It is not unheard of for small community hospitals to pay $10,000 -$15,000 for online access. I have heard of larger institutions paying $80,000 - $100,000 for access (which of course can't be used at home).

Coincidentally three recent physician blog posts have commented about UpToDate dependency among doctors. (Thanks to Halyna on MEDLIB-L for finding the posts.)

While I think UpToDate is a useful tool, it is not the best tool for every situation. Their business tactics in my opinion are questionable. Any company that does not address the positives of their competitors is bound for problems eventually. UpToDate's competitors (FirstConsult, DynaMed, eMedicine, etc.) all provide home access to institutional users at no additional cost. Both DynaMed and FirstConsult can easily integrated into a hospital's EMR. Talk about true point of care resources.


At 4:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

One of my favorite chief residents described Up To Date as "information crack" and let his interns know his feelings. I don't know if he ever managed to de-tox them and get them to use the (many) other resources our institution provides for clinical question answering.
I have been encourage recently to find a bit of a backlash against Up to Date from doctors who are aware of their institutional extortion tactics. We offer a number of excellent clinical resources and find that access to these resources off campus is spurring increased use and loyalty to these other information vendors.
Eventually Up To Date will disappear from university campuses and their market dominance will disappear because they failed to acknowledge that librarians are a powerful marketing partner. As for me, I whistle "walk on by" as I pointedly pass the Up To Date booth without stopping at meeting exhibit halls.

At 6:34 PM, Anonymous Clinical Cases and Images - Blog said...

Thank you for the link, the correct URL is:


At 5:03 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

up to date ? what about www.clinicalevidence.com from the guys across the pond at the BMJ ?

At 12:41 PM, Blogger The Krafty Librarian said...

clinicalevidence.com is great, but our docs won't look at anything besides UpToDate.
Unfortuantely many of UTD competitors are too expensive for hospitals to offer both products. It is usually an either or situation, and when faced with that the doctors allways choose UTD


Post a Comment

<< Home

RSS Button Subscribe to this feed.
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 License.
The Krafty Librarian has been a medical librarian since 1998. She is currently the medical librarian for a hospital system in Ohio. You can email her at: