Information In Practice


BMJ 1996; 313 doi: (Published 30 November 1996) Cite this as: BMJ 1996;313:1384

Medical education on the web

  • The LectureLinks site of the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine ( shows the potential of the web for teaching medical students. The site's authors have not only put their own lecture notes on line (some only accessible locally) but have also provided links from each lecture to other relevant material on the web, so that medical students anywhere can access the best examples of online medical education

  • Members of the Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Leicester, have put together a package of teaching materials on their web site (, including lecture notes, online interactive tutorials, self assessment questions, Quicktime movies, and a copy of the National Academy of Science's guide to scientific integrity On Being a Scientist

  • Christoph Lehmann and Kent Hayes at the Marshall University School of Medicine have created the Interactive Patient (http://medicus., an online simulation of clinical diagnosis featuring (so far) just one clinical case. The web site allows users to take a history in everyday language, perform a physical examination, request and interpret laboratory and radiological information, and finally offer a diagnosis

Drug information on line

  • The Physician's GenRx site ( is the probably the closest you will to get to a comprehensive online formulary. The site provides a thorough compilation of up to date information on prescription drugs available in the United States, including data on pharmacology, indications, cost (in dollars), side effects, interactions, and precautions. The searchable index even contains cross links from at least some British drug names to their American counterparts (such as rifampicin and rifampin). How long must we wait before our own British National Formulary is on line?

  • Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Trust has begun to publish its local formulary on the web: Although the site has a rather “thrown together” feel at present, it represents an encouraging first step in the movement of local drug information onto the Internet

  • The University of Wisconsin has launched a hypertext antibiotic guide on You can search for information on individual drugs or classes of drugs or obtain recommendations for the empirical treatment of a limited set of infections

  • A list of the latest set of drugs approved by the US Food and Drug Administration and details of clinical trials in progress can be found on the CenterWatch Clinical Trials Listing Service on

  • Other web sites that might help readers' prescribing habits are listed on the Medical Matrix's Prescription Assistance Resources page ( and on the HealthNet Drug Formulary page ( htmlth)

  • The PharmWeb site ( provides a good starting point for exploring pharmacy related resources on the Internet

Tobacco Control Archives

  • The complete set of documents leaked from the the tobacco company Brown and Williamson—which detail the tobacco industy's own research into its product's effects on health and which are being cited in numerous lawsuits against the industry—are available on the Internet, thanks to Stanton Glantz and staff of the UCSF Library and Center for Knowledge Management. The documents form part of the Tobacco Control Archives ( The archives also include an online version of The Cigarette Papers, the book written by Stanton Glantz, John Slade, Lisa Bero, Peter Hanauer, and Deborah Barnes that reviews the Brown and Williamson documents

Forensic entomology

  • The great thing about the web is that anyone can contribute, however offbeat their interests. Morten Staerkby has produced an intriguing web site dedicated to medicolegal forensic entomology (the use of insect evidence in investigating murders, suicides, etc) on html. The site includes an introduction to forensic entomology, complete with case histories, and links to other forensic entomology material on the web

  • A link on Staerkby's site takes you to the American Council of Forensic Entomologists' web pages (, which also contain much information on the subject

  • Another of Staerkby's links takes you to the equally quirky site on maggot debridement therapy, that is the medical use of live maggots for cleaning non-healing wounds: These sites are best visited on an empty stomach

Compiled by Mark Pallen (email web page

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