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Web Tool May Help Doctors Make Better Decisions


Online medical database helps physicians answer clinical questions.

December 6, 2005, According to a new study in the Nov.-Dec. issue of Annals of Family Medicine, primary care physicians were able to answer more clinical questions when they used a new online resource, the Dynamic Medical Information System, or DynaMed, than if they relied solely upon other resources.

Developed with the support of a National Science Foundation Small Business Innovation Research award, DynaMed is a collection of clinical summaries on more than 1,800 medical topics. Instead of relying solely on texts in the office or other resources, a doctor can log into DynaMed to compare his patients’ ailments with a peer-reviewed, searchable database.

In the recent study, many doctors using the tool changed clinical decisions based on evidence they uncovered in the database.

DynaMed is supported by NSF’s SBIR program, which emphasizes high-risk, high-payback innovations that are tied to NSF’s mission of advancements in science, engineering and education. All proposals are evaluated on the technical merit of their research and development, as well as their technological impact. NSF was the first of 10 federal agencies to reserve a portion of their research and development funds for the SBIR program, which is coordinated by the U.S. Small Business Administration.


The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering, with an annual budget of nearly $5.47 billion. NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 universities and institutions. Each year, NSF receives about 40,000 competitive requests for funding, and makes about 11,000 new funding awards. The NSF also awards over $200 million in professional and service contracts yearly.


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