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June 1999, Week 3


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KAREN ALBERT <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Wed, 16 Jun 1999 11:01:13 -0400
TEXT/PLAIN (171 lines)
Here are the comments about Micromedex.  Most are very positive, and most
do not feel that training is necessary.  From my brief look at the system via
a trial password, I can see that users could probably benefit from some
orientation to the content and usage of the system.   Thanks to everyone
who responded to my request for information.  Your input was very

Karen Albert
Director of Library Services
Fox Chase Cancer Center
Phila., PA 19111
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We've been using the TOMES db from MicroMedex for 2 years now and have had
few problems.  We access it through the Internet and our health inofrmation
specialists here find it easy to use and very helpful in handling
drug-related queries. As for training, we did that all in-house ourselves,
so I can not comment on their training schemes. But I can say that when we
had a question or problem, their customer service reps. were helpful.
Hope this helps.
We have it, easy to use, no major training needed, we spend 5-10 min. out
of 1.5 hr orientation on it.  Limited with Id and password, can't just be
sitting on your web page for all thr world to see and use.Licensure reasons.

K. -
Training was pretty straight-forward.  I read the documentation we received
and after testing it, gave a training session to our health information
specialists (there are 5 of them).  I also created a 'cheat sheet' for them
regarding accessing & searching.  As they were all already familiar with
database usage, they picked up on it quickly and use it regularly.  So if
you have an already computer savvy user base, training may be a moot point.
Karen, we have an institutional license and list it on our Library =
intrAnet home page.  It is easy to use and intuitive.  Our customers =
especially like a PDR that never wears out or disappears.
We have had the mainframe product for many years, and find it a
very important tool in our organization.  It is available on over 3000
terminals throughtout our Southern California hospitals, pahrmacies,
 and clinics.

The do have a video that runs about 20 minutes which is an excellent
introduction to the various programs on the system.
The one problem we have had with the mainframe version is with
printing.  If you do not have a mainframe printer connected directly
to the termial you are searching from, you must cut and paste or find
a terminal to send the output.

We recently loaded the program on our internal Intranet site.
It solves the printing issue somewhat,  and has all of the informtion
as the mainframe but in a few different formats.  It also has an alternative
medicine database that will be available shortly.  Currently there are only 5 records
in the alternative medicine file, but they are very detailed and when it becomes
fully available with the next issue.
The problem with the intranet printing issue is in the printing
of specific secitons of each monograph.  This function is not supported with
Netscape, and only works with the Microsoft Explorer web browser.  Netscape
is working on correcting this problem. In summary, it is an excellent program,
and as I said up front, we could  not survive in our Drug Information Service
without it.

This is an excellent product.  DrugDex contains well researched drug
monographs which are referenced to the primary literature.  It's
expensive, but a uniquely useful source of drug information.  Our pharmacy
students receive a worksheet assignment (as part of the required drug
information class) on MICROMEDEX databases which is meant to
make them aware of the content.  The software interface itself is pretty
easy to use, and doesn't seem to require much, if any, training.  Any
training efforts we do are focused on awareness of the source and its
Karen I used the micormedix products when I was the pharmacy librarian at
Ferris State University.  I know the databases are very expensive but I
could answer almost every pharmacy question with them.  It is very very easy
to use and I am no computer whiz.  All the students were able to pick it up.

and they find out how to use it properly, the are very pleased with it.
I think some training is helpful.  The intranet version has an excellen users
guide right on the site.  Most of our pharmacists have claimed that the
intranet version does not contain the same info as the mainframe, but
one I give them a "tour" of the site and they find out how to use it properly,
the are very pleasedwith it.

I can mail you a copy of the users guide for the intranet version if you like so
 you can get an idea of how it wroks.  Just let me know.

Just takes some patience on their part, and finding the time to sit down
for about an hour and learn a new system.
I find the total package wonderful and very easy to use. You can designate
any or all of the sources available and it comes up with many more answers
to food - drug interactions and drug - drug interactions than any printed
source I have found. A real gem!!

Please carefully check the cited references.  They seem a bit old to me.  I
have not had time to do a comprehensive study to see if it was simply the
topic or a software characteristic. Please let me know if you gain insight
into this aspect of Micromedex.

From a clinical nurse's standpoint, I like using Micromedex to find info on
new drugs, and also the pre-printed client education info is very good for
sending pts and families home with the right instructions. At the hospital
where I practice, and also teach student RN's, it has been loaded onto the
computer network and can be accessed from every med-surg floor and the
critical care units. It can be a little cumbersome at first, but once you get
used to the way to find the screen that you need, it can just be printed out
for use. The students really benefit from it, too. A couple of minutes
reviewing which area to trigger is all that is needed.
At the VAMC, we had installed MICROMEDEX (Drugdex & Poisondex) on a network
system--on balance, I would say, it was very successful.  At the time, the
user training materials from the company was nil.  They claimed that the
system was intuitive, (ha, ha).

So, we created our own material.  At the time, I even wrote a training
manual.  The Library was responsible for distributing passwords--and we
insisted that the staff member attend a training session before we gave
them a password.  I don't remember exactly, but I think we held sessions
once a week (one hour sessions) usually two or three back-to-back .

Our hospital has used MicroMedex for many years, and it is very well
received.  The Windows version is *much* easier to use and print than
the old DOS version.  I think it is an easy system to learn as long as the
user is not a technophobe.  We did not have to publicize the package,
since it has been here so long.

We have also just purchased the patient education module, CareNotes.
The patient education files are rather lengthy, but complete.  They can
also be modified to be patient specific.  We have to begun to publicize it
yet, as we are still reviewing the contents.
Excellent product, but expensive. Used all the time by our ER. Harder to
implement among other depts. Product easy to use. We also have their patient
education module, CareNotes.
We just started using Clinisphere (Facts & Comparisons) as well as the AHFS
CD-ROM's on our facility network.  They are generally accepted and certainl
more up to date than paper copy (which were costing about as much as the
CD-ROM network prices are.)
Micromedex has a reputation of being very expensive.  Several VA's have
Micromedex, including (in your area) Erie, Philadelphia, Wilkes-Barre,
Clarksburg WV, and New York City VAMC.  You could check with them.
At least PDR is available separately-however un-authoritative its entries
are (due to the proprietary sources.)

We use Micromedex (Drugdex) - it is an excellent database for in-depth info
on drugs.  It is used mostly by Pharmacy, but last year we networked it to
all the wards.  It is popular with the clinical staff so I'd recommend it.

MDs don't use PCs on units much. And when we do try to use the resource, I
find something is wrong with the icon, won't open, error messages. So I have
to have the information serv dept come fix it and that can't happen asap. I
am thinking that distributing these databases house wide maybe isn't the way
to go. But this isn't Micromedex' problem w/the PC technical difficulties.
In the ER. where they use it all the time, they keep it up. On the units,
there isn't the frequency of use and it tends to fall apart. Am going on
rounds to check out each site. What a waste of time.