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Table of Contents: 2018 MAY–JUNE No. 422

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NLM to Discontinue PubMed Health on October 31, 2018

Coleman J. NLM to Discontinue PubMed Health on October 31, 2018. NLM Tech Bull. 2018 May-Jun;(422):e3.

2018 May 17 [posted]

The National Library of Medicine (NLM) has decided to discontinue PubMed Health effective October 31, 2018, as the majority of information it provides is available in more heavily used NLM resources, such as PubMed, Bookshelf, and MedlinePlus. By focusing our attention on these highly used platforms, we will be able to better serve users and meet their needs for access to quality health and medical information.

PubMed Health was introduced eight years ago as a portal for systematic reviews as well as consumer health information. Systematic reviews have been, and will remain, findable through PubMed, and the full text (when available) will continue to be accessible through Bookshelf.  One simple way to limit PubMed search results to systematic reviews is to mark the check box for them in “Customize” under "Article types," located in the top left corner of the search results page (see Figure 1).

Article types on the search results page.
Figure 1: Article types on the search results page.

Within the next year, PubMed will be adding "Systematic Review" as a Publication Type [pt], which will allow users to find systematic reviews by including the phrase in their search query (e.g., breast cancer AND systematic review[pt]).

Also within the next year, PubMed will include a default check box for systematic reviews. You can get a sense of how that will look by visiting PubMed Labs, our Web site for experimenting with potential new features and interfaces for PubMed.

Most of the consumer health information in PubMed Health, such as information on diseases, conditions and medications, is available through MedlinePlus. NLM remains fully committed to providing health information for patients and the general public.

Key publications in PubMed Health that provide education on understanding and interpreting research, such as Know Your Chances: Understanding Health Statistics and Testing Treatments: Better Research Through Better Healthcare, will continue to be available on the Bookshelf.

The decision to discontinue PubMed Health and focus on NLM highly used platforms aligns with the NLM Strategic Plan 2017-2027: A Platform for Biomedical Discovery and Data-Powered Health, which outlines interdependent goals, including Goal 2: to "Reach more people in more ways through enhanced dissemination and engagement pathways."

We welcome your comments on how NLM should provide the information you used in PubMed Health. Send your feedback to NLM Customer Support.

By Janet Coleman
National Center for Biotechnology Information

NLM Technical Bulletin National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health