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Better Evidence for Training Program Frequently Asked Questions

The goal of the Better Evidence for Training UpToDate Program is to enhance access and uptake of the latest clinical evidence among future health care providers, encourage the habit of consulting evidence-based clinical resources, and ultimately, lead to better patient care everywhere, for everyone, every time.

Better Evidence is not currently accepting applications. Please check back in late 2020 for an update on the application for our 2021 cohort of medical schools. For any questions, please email betraining@ariadnelabs.org.

To sign up for our mailing list and be informed of the most current updates about the program, click here or below.

The Better Evidence for Training Program

What is Better Evidence? 

The Better Evidence Program – supported by Ariadne Labs, a center for health systems innovation parented by the Harvard School of Public Health and the Brigham and Women’s Hospital – seeks to enhance uptake of the latest clinical evidence among current and future health care providers serving vulnerable populations. Since 2009, the Better Evidence team has facilitated free UpToDate subscriptions for over 20,000 qualified health professionals in more than 120 countries, approximately half of whom had no prior access to online resources. The Better Evidence Program serves both providers and medical students and affiliated faculty through two different streams of work: Better Evidence for Providers and Better Evidence for Training. 

Is Better Evidence a research program?

Better Evidence aims to create a simple, scalable model for increasing access to UpToDate among medical students and trainees in their clinical years by building upon what we learned in our 2015 research study (see “How would my medical students benefit from using UpToDate?” above). Better Evidence for Training is not a research program and does not require ethical clearance from a local Institutional Review Board (IRB). We do, however, plan to learn from our efforts so that we can iterate on our design and improve and expand our impact with time. 

Who is eligible to receive UpToDate from my institution? 

All medical students entering into/currently in their clinical years, in graduate programs such as residency, students in their intern year, and the faculty who support them will all be given access to UpToDate.

How long will the institutional license apply? 

The license will be for a three-year term and renewed automatically for two one-year terms thereafter, for a total of five years.

What happens after the program period is complete – will my students lose access to UpToDate? 

Students who graduate and go on to practice at a non-profit or public institution and would otherwise be unable to afford UpToDate are eligible to apply for the Better Evidence Provider Program, which equips providers with one-year UpToDate subscriptions that are renewable annually. To learn more about the Provider Program, please visit: http://www.ariadnelabs.org/better-evidence/apply

What will this cost my university? 

There will be no financial exchange. All UpToDate licenses will be donated by Wolters Kluwers, the parent company of UpToDate. Universities will be expected to invest in the program to ensure that it is implemented successfully. This will include assigning a point-person to collaborate with the Better Evidence team to complete all tasks agreed upon before launching the program. 

How will my students know how to use UpToDate?

The Better Evidence team will collaborate with your institution to organize an introductory workshop during your students’ orientation period. This workshop will cover how to register for access, how to access the tool and how to effectively use it to inform learning and clinical decision-making. 

The UpToDate Tool

What is UpToDate? 

UpToDate is a clinical decision support tool authored by 6,900 world-renowned physicians who synthesize the most recent medical information into trusted, evidence-based recommendations accessible via the web or download, on a computer or a smartphone. Over 1.7 million clinicians in over 190 countries and nearly 90% of major academic medical centers in the United States rely on UpToDate to find the answers to pressing questions. Every day, clinicians view topics covering 25 specialties over 1.5 million times.

Who writes / edits sections?

The 6,900 physician authors, editors, and peer reviewers are recognized as experts in their medical specialties. Contributors are listed on their specific topics, which they write in conjunction with a deputy physician editor. For more on how the information is created, please visit: https://www.uptodate.com/home/editorial.

How could my medical students benefit from using UpToDate?

Research studies confirm the association of the use of UpToDate with improved patient care and hospital performance—including reduced length of stay, fewer adverse complications, and lower mortality. Studies also show that providers using UpToDate perform better on standardized exams.  

In 2015, we engaged with Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences in Tanzania and the University of Rwanda to facilitate free UpToDate subscriptions for interested students and study the impact. Through this research, we saw that early access to UpToDate habituated students to consult the evidence. Students given UpToDate used Wikipedia less and UpToDate more.

How does UpToDate differ from other tools my students might be using?

UpToDate is the only clinical decision support resource associated with improved clinical outcomes. While other tools such as Hinari provide free or very low-cost online access to the major biomedical journals, UpToDate is a tool that synthesizes the best clinical practice and the most updated medical evidence found across these journals to provide actionable recommendations that students and providers can readily use in the moment of care. 

UpToDate Technical Questions

How will students and faculty obtain their subscription?

UpToDate is a subscription-based service which typically requires the purchase of a subscription. Through the Better Evidence program, students and faculty will be able to subscribe to UpToDate for free from your institution’s IP address. They will register for an account from campus by visiting www.UpToDate.com, where they will be prompted to create a username and password. 

Where can UpToDate be accessed?

Any internet-enabled device, including smartphones (both iOS and Android), tablets, laptops, and desktop computers, can access UpToDate. Users can access the tool through the website (www.UpToDate.com), by downloading the app (“UpToDate Mobile”) and using it on their phone while connected to an internet source, or by downloading MobileComplete to use it offline (see “Can UpToDate be used offline?” below). 

In what languages is UpToDate available? 

UpToDate is available in English. However, the UpToDate mobile app and MobileComplete allow a subscriber to search in one of 9 different languages, including French. This enables subscribers to search in their own language when translating a medical term into English might be challenging. 

Can UpToDate be used offline?

Wi-Fi access is required for initial UpToDate MobileComplete download and full content updates. However, all UpToDate subscriptions will come with MobileComplete, which allows students to download the tool to their device and use it without a Wi-Fi or network connection, i.e., offline. A minimum of 1.3 GB of local storage is required for both topics and graphics; 400MB of local storage is required for topics only.