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FIRSTConsult is a point-of-care tool produced by Elsevier and is usually coupled with MD Consult. It is available for mobile devices, updated weekly and comprises four (4) sections:
Under each section, users can search via a search box or an alphabetical list. Users can modify searches as required. The search engine does not support truncation. It is updated quarterly. The print version is a series of 15 books entitled FirstConsult Books. The series includes a differential diagnosis volume and a medical condition series by specialty.
Evidence is summarized principally from three critically evaluated sources:
In addition, where evidence exists that has not yet been critically reviewed in one of the three sites above, the evidence is summarized briefly, categorized, and fully referenced. Guidelines are also sourced from governmental and professional bodies. Additional information is taken from MD Consult, consensus statements, reference texts, and peer-reviewed articles. Medical Condition summaries are written from this evidence by physicians. The summaries are reviewed by an editorial advisory board of experts, and by clinical reviewers.
Disease summary overview
Each medical condition summary follows a structured template. Each contains section titles such as Summary, Background, and Diagnosis. Where possible, citations have LinkOut to articles contained in MDConsult or to consensus statements. Levels of evidence are also cited where applicable.
The online version provides access to the largest number of sections as well as weekly updating. The PDA version is updated quarterly but only 2 out of 5 sections are available. The available sections have been abridged which has resulted in misleading information. FirstConsult is meant to be used in primary care offices, clinics, and emergent or urgent care settings. Even though it does not cover as many topics as UpToDate it has more options for navigation. Patient information in FirstConsult is easier to read. In sum, FirstConsult is more useful to primary care providers, house staff, newer clinicians, physician assistants, nurse practictioners, and clinical nurse specialists. Fox et al found that some information is not available; seeking information on hyponatremia or SIADH in differential diagnosis produced little of consequence. Patient education handouts on Hepatitis C were not findable. Some discrepancies exist between patient handouts and Medical Condition summaries. FirstConsult only uses generic drug names in its contents.