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Library Tutorials: Health Sciences

A collection of tutorials and resources for getting the most out of the Spokane Academic Library

Accessing UpToDate

UptoDate is a point-of-care resource for health information. The content is written, reviewed, and updated by expert physicians and provide specific recommendations for patient care. To access UpToDate, visit the Spokane Academic Library website and select "UptoDate" under the heading for Recommended Databases.


UpToDate has a robust Help section to help you get started using the resource. It includes a user manual, demos, and an FAQ. To access, click "Help" at the top right corner of the webpage.

Using UpToDate

Searching on UpToDate

To begin a search, type your search term into the search bar. A drop-down list of suggested terms may appear.

Screenshot of search for

Results on UpToDate

There are several things to pay attention to on the results list. Each result includes the title along with three links to key sections within the article.

Results on UpToDate

At the top of the screen, there will be filter options, which will allow you to limit the results by Adult, Pediatric, or Patient. You may also limit results to graphics.

screenshot of UpToDate's filters: All, Adult, Pediatric, Patient, and Graphics

Results on UpToDate

On the right side of each result, you can select the arrow button to see a quick look at the topic summary outline for that item. It includes links to every section within the article, allowing you to quickly navigate to the most relevant information.

screenshot of Topic Outline for one item including Summary and Recommendations, Introduction, Evaluation (and subsections) and Glycemic control

Navigating an UpToDate Summary

On the left side of the page, you will see the Topic Outline again, and will be able to select links to the most relevant sections of the article.

screenshot of Topic Outline for one item with Summary and Recommendations selected

Navigating an UpToDate Summary

The articles within UpToDate are designed to be informative and easily navigated. There are many links within an article that allow you to jump to graphics, references, and related UpToDate articles.

Screenshot of text with links to other UpToDate related items


Each UpToDate summary is heavily researched, and every reference is listed at the bottom, complete with links to a full citation and a link to the referenced article in PubMed.

screenshot of UpToDate references for one item, 5 out of 6 are linked


Selecting a reference will link to an abstract of that article and a link to the article via the WSU Libraries.

screenshot of UpToDate abstract for one item including a link at the top to full-text

Interesting Features

UpToDate offers patient education materials that are well-researched and easy to understand. To access these, select the "Patient Education" option at the top right corner of the screen:

screenshot of UpToDate menu with "Patient Education" link circled

Patient education materials are organized in two categories: The Basics and Beyond Basics.

  • The Basics are short articles that provide a brief overview of the topic; they are designed to answer the top four or five questions a patient may have about a topic. They are also available in Spanish.
  • Beyond Basics are longer, five to ten page articles that provides more detail about a topic. They include more medical terminology.

UpToDate offers a number of useful calculators associated to different medical specialties, including cardiology, pediatrics, and surgery. To access, select the "Calculators" tab at the top right corner of the screen:

screenshot of UpToDate menu with "Calculators" link circled

screenshot list of calculators in UpToDate

UpToDate's Drug Interaction feature links to a Lexi-Comp product, Lexi-Interact Online. This is a comprehensive drug-to-drug, drug-to-herb, and herb-to-herb interaction analysis program. To access, select "Drug Interaction" at the top right corner of the screen:

screenshot of UpToDate menu with "Drug Interactions" link circled

To use Lexi-Interact Online, enter the drug or herb you are interested in and select the best option from the list that appears under the search bar:

screenshot of Lexicomp Lookup for "aspirin"

UpToDate editors select the most important updates in medicine and share them under the What's New tab. Updates are sorted by specialty. Select "What's New" at the top right corner of the screen to access:

screenshot of UpToDate menu with "What's New" link circled

screenshot of UpToDate's list of updates in medicine

Mobile App Instructions

  • Go to UpToDate
  • Select "Register" from the top right corner
  • Complete the registration form
  • Go to the App Store or Google Play Store
  • Search for "UpToDate"
  • Select and download the app (usually the first option)
  • Open the app
  • Log in using your UpToDate credentials
  • Accept the license agreement

Key Features:

  • Persistent login
  • Easy search with auto-completion
  • Bookmarks and history
  • Mobile-optimized medical calculators
  • Print and email topics and graphics
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