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News Release 05-206

Web Tool May Help Doctors Make Better Decisions

Online medical database helps physicians answer clinical questions

Following Hurricane Katrina in Sept. 2005, a doctor talks to a patient with a broken neck.

Following Hurricane Katrina in Sept. 2005, a doctor talks to a patient with a broken neck.

December 6, 2005

This material is available primarily for archival purposes. Telephone numbers or other contact information may be out of date; please see current contact information at media contacts.

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.


Media Contacts
Joshua A. Chamot, NSF, (703) 292-7730, email:

Program Contacts
Juan E. Figueroa, NSF, (703) 292-7054, email:

Principal Investigators
Brian S. Alper, DynaMed, (978) 356-6500, email:

The U.S. National Science Foundation propels the nation forward by advancing fundamental research in all fields of science and engineering. NSF supports research and people by providing facilities, instruments and funding to support their ingenuity and sustain the U.S. as a global leader in research and innovation. With a fiscal year 2020 budget of $8.3 billion, NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 40,000 competitive proposals and makes about 11,000 new awards. Those awards include support for cooperative research with industry, Arctic and Antarctic research and operations, and U.S. participation in international scientific efforts.

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