THIS SUMMER, RIVA-MELISSA Tez was searching online for research that might help her father. He’d gone into a coma after suffering a stroke, and she wondered what the latest recommendations said—whether playing music to him in his native language could keep him connected to this world, or if giving him Prozac could boost his chances of recovery as it had done for mice in a study last year. Doctors are so busy saving lives, she thought, that they couldn’t possibly keep up with all the papers published every day.
Her concern is shared by doctors, who wonder what they could be missing in the 2.5 million scientific papers published every year. Popular sites like MedCalc and UptoDate are useful tools for doctors to consult diagnostic criteria and double check on treatment guidelines. But there’s plenty of room for improvement.