URL of this page: https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/connect/overview.html

MedlinePlus Connect

Linking Patient Portals and EHRs to Consumer Health Information

MedlinePlus Connect helps patients and health care providers access consumer health information at the point of need in a health IT system. Patient portals, patient health record (PHR) systems, and electronic health record (EHR) systems can use MedlinePlus Connect to provide health information for patients, families, and healthcare providers using standard clinical vocabularies for diagnoses (problem codes), medications, and lab tests.

MedlinePlus Connect is a free service of the National Library of Medicine (NLM), National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

MedlinePlus Connect Quick Facts

  • Free, does not require registration.
  • Fulfills one of the criteria for Meaningful Use of Health Information Technology.
  • Implementing MedlinePlus Connect makes a global change; you don't need to create individual links.
  • Accepts information requests based on coding systems already used by EHRs.
  • Supports the HL7 Context-Aware Knowledge Retrieval (Infobutton) standard.
  • Supports requests for information in English or Spanish.
  • You don't have to use MedlinePlus Connect exclusively to link to patient education information. Many EHR systems can be configured to link to more than one source of consumer health information.
  • Intended for use within the U.S. health care system and with coding systems used in the United States.

The Basics

MedlinePlus Connect accepts requests for information on diagnoses (problem codes), medications, and lab tests, and returns related information from MedlinePlus.

This API is available as a Web application or a Web service.

A flow chart demonstrating how electronic health record systems send medical codes to MedlinePlus Connect. Connect returns targeted health information to the EHR system.View image full size

A patient portal, patient health record (PHR) system, or electronic health record (EHR) system sends a problem, medication, or lab code-based request to MedlinePlus Connect. MedlinePlus Connect responds with targeted consumer health information for display in the patient portal or clinical system.

Implementing MedlinePlus Connect

To set up the MedlinePlus Connect Web application or Web service, work with a technical representative or staff member in your organization who can use the MedlinePlus Connect Web application or Web service. Check out our technical documentation for more detailed information and demonstrations.

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