Harvard Medical School new digital library to feature MD Consult full text medical resources

September 24, 2000

Boston, MA and St. Louis, MO, September 25, 2000 - In one of the nation's largest online clinical information initiatives sponsored by a medical institution, Harvard Medical School announced today that it will launch a pilot project called the Digital Library featuring MD Consult's comprehensive full text medical resources.

The Digital Library will provide more than 18,000 affiliate physicians, faculty, residents, students, as well as myriad staff with access to a broad selection of electronic resources, including the Harcourt-owned MD Consult. The agreement with Harvard Medical School creates the largest user account for MD Consult, which counts 75 percent of U.S. medical schools among its institutional customers.

Funding for the initial year of the pilot comes from Harvard University. During that year, affiliate institutions of Harvard Medical School will evaluate the service and explore options for cost-sharing to continue the project.

Through the Digital Library, clinicians, faculty, students, and staff at all 17 affiliated teaching hospitals and institutions will have no-cost access to MD Consult, thus making the equivalent of millions pages of medical text available at the touch of a finger. The service's ease of access and its intuitive search capability provide quick, accurate answers to specific clinical questions.

HMS Dean Joseph B. Martin, M.D ., Ph.D., initiated the Digital Library as part of a Harvard medical community-wide Information Technology project begun in 1998. The Digital Library was developed by the Harvard Medical School IT Department and the Countway Library of Medicine. These entities will also maintain the resource.

"Information technology and the Internet continue to revolutionize the way we practice and teach medicine -- playing an essential role in the advancement of basic science and clinical research, in innovative medical education, and in the quality and cost-effectiveness of clinical care," said Dr. Martin. "The launch of the Digital Library is the latest demonstration of the commitment of the Harvard Medical School and its affiliate hospitals to staying at the forefront of this revolution."

"When we assessed which online services would be most useful to our broad medical community, MD Consult was a strong choice as one of the central resources," said Judy Messerle, director of the Countway Library. "As a longstanding MD Consult customer, the medical school's faculty and students have benefited from the service's full text resources from a wide range of texts and journals."

"To be selected by the Harvard Medical School and its affiliates as an anchor resource for the Digital Library pilot further validates MD Consult's position as one of the most preferred and trusted online clinical services for physicians," added Jerry Freeland, President of MD Consult. "Since our launch in 1998, MD Consult has focused on the information needs of physicians - whether they are in school, in their residency, in practice, or going into the higher realms of academic research - to give them the practical, useful and valuable clinical information that fits into their workflow."

With the service, users are able to access full text resources from nearly 40 medical books and 50 medical journals and series. For practicing physicians, the service also provides clinical practice guidelines, a full drug reference database, continuing medical education modules, plus extensive patient education handouts that can be customized to individual physicians and their patients. To further facilitate improved doctor-patient communication, the service offers unusual features like a summary of "what patients are reading" to give physicians a preview of likely questions that patients may ask, based on popular media coverage of medical issues.

Faculty, students, and staff at hospitals and institutions affiliated with the Harvard Medical School that will have access to the Digital Library's resources include those at:

--Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
--Brigham & Women's Hospital
--Cambridge Health Alliance
--Center for Blood Research
--Children's Hospital
--Dana Farber Cancer Institute
--Deaconess Glover Medical Center
--Deaconess Nashoba Medical Center
--Deaconess Waltham Medical Center
--Harvard Pilgrim Health Care
--Joslin Diabetes Center
--Judge Baker Children's Center
--Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary
--Massachusetts General Hospital
--Massachusetts Mental Health Center
--McLean Hospital
--Mt. Auburn Hospital
--New England Baptist Hospital
--Schepens Eye Research Institute
--Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital
--VA Boston Health System
About MD Consult

MD Consult helps physicians answer clinical questions and stay abreast of recent developments by integrating nearly 40 respected medical reference books and 50 medical journals, plus comprehensive drug information, more than 600 clinical practice guidelines, nearly 3,000 patient education handouts, daily personalized clinical updates, and online CME. Over 130,000 physicians and other health professionals access MD Consult under paid subscription plans. Each month subscribers conduct more than 700,000 information searches on the service and view nearly 5 million pages of clinical content, primarily during daytime practice hours. The service is currently licensed by more than 400 health systems, hospitals, and other health care organizations, including more than 75 percent of the national's medical schools. Headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri, MD Consult is owned by Harcourt General, Inc. For more information or a 10-day free trial, please visit http://www.mdconsult.com.

Kupper Parker Communications

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