URL of this page: https://medlineplus.gov/connect/faqs.html

MedlinePlus Connect: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

General Questions

  • What is MedlinePlus Connect?
    • MedlinePlus Connect is a free service that allows health organizations and IT providers to link patient portals and electronic health record (EHR) systems to information from MedlinePlus (https://medlineplus.gov), the National Library of Medicine's (NLM) consumer health Web site.

      MedlinePlus Connect provides information on diseases and conditions, prescription and over-the-counter medications, and laboratory tests. In some cases, MedlinePlus Connect returns information from Genetics Home Reference, another NLM resource.
  • What is MedlinePlus?
    • MedlinePlus is NLM's authoritative consumer health Web site. It includes consumer health information from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), plus links to information from other U.S. government agencies and trusted health information providers, such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The MedlinePlus quality guidelines tells you more about how we evaluate and select links from outside organizations.

      MedlinePlus helps millions of visitors a year access:
      • Information on hundreds of diseases, conditions and wellness topics
      • Videos and other multimedia
      • An illustrated medical encyclopedia, medical dictionary, and health news
      • Medication and supplement information
      • Links to health information in over 40 languages
      • And much more...
  • What's the difference between MedlinePlus and MedlinePlus Connect?
    • MedlinePlus is a full-featured consumer health web site. Users may access MedlinePlus through a web browser or a mobile device.
    • MedlinePlus Connect is a free service that allows electronic health record (EHR) systems to easily link users to MedlinePlus, an authoritative up-to-date health information resource for patients, families and health care providers. MedlinePlus Connect is not a replacement to MedlinePlus. It helps users of EHRs find health information from MedlinePlus.
  • How much does MedlinePlus Connect cost?
    • MedlinePlus Connect is available at no cost and does not require registration.
  • Will MedlinePlus Connect help me achieve Meaningful Use? Is MedlinePlus Connect a certified health IT module?
    • MedlinePlus Connect is not a certified health IT module, but systems pursuing certification can use it to deliver patient-specific education resources. MedlinePlus Connect was not developed as a source for clinical decision support.

      Since MedlinePlus Connect helps EHRs identify patient-specific education resources, MedlinePlus Connect may assist eligible health care providers in meeting the patient-specific education resources criteria for meaningful use of certified EHR technology. Health care providers must meet a number of criteria to demonstrate meaningful use in order to successfully participate in CMS programs requiring the use of certified EHR technology.

      The National Library of Medicine does not make or interpret CMS quality program or ONC certification regulations. To learn more about the CMS EHR Incentive Programs please visit www.cms.gov/ehrincentiveprograms. To learn more about the CMS Quality Payment Program please visit www.qpp.cms.gov. For health IT certification questions please visit the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) or contact ONC.Certification@hhs.gov.
  • Who maintains MedlinePlus Connect?
    • The National Library of Medicine, part of the National Institutes of Health, maintains MedlinePlus and MedlinePlus Connect.

Using MedlinePlus Connect

  • How does MedlinePlus Connect work?
    • MedlinePlus Connect responds to requests based on diagnosis (problem) codes, medication codes, and laboratory test codes. When an EHR or patient portal submits a code request, MedlinePlus Connect returns a response that includes links to relevant MedlinePlus patient information. MedlinePlus Connect can reply with English or Spanish information. The "How MedlinePlus Connect Works" page has more information.
  • Can I test out MedlinePlus Connect before I decide to implement it?
  • Our EHR/patient portal already links to another patient education source. Can I use it and MedlinePlus Connect in the same system?
    • Yes. You don't have to use MedlinePlus Connect exclusively to link to patient education information. Many EHR systems can be configured to link to more than one source of consumer health information.

Technical Questions

  • What is the difference between the Web application and the Web service?
  • In addition to MedlinePlus Connect, what other data services does MedlinePlus provide?
    • MedlinePlus offers a search-based Web service that provides access to MedlinePlus health topic data in XML format. Using the Web service, software developers can build applications that utilize MedlinePlus health topic information. The service accepts keyword searches as requests and returns relevant health topics in ranked order. Keyword searches may be limited to specific fields. The service also returns health topic summaries, search result snippets, external links, and other associated data.
    • MedlinePlus also produces XML data sets of health topic and health topic group information. The XML sets are available in English and Spanish.

MedlinePlus Connect Users

  • Who uses MedlinePlus Connect?
    • The MedlinePlus Connect users list contains health care organizations and electronic health record systems that have told us they are using MedlinePlus Connect. The list is not comprehensive, and because use of MedlinePlus Connect does not require licensing or registration we do not know of every organization or product that has implemented our service.
  • Are there any current MedlinePlus Connect users who can tell me about their experience?
    • MedlinePlus Connect has an email list where users can write questions and comments to the MedlinePlus Connect team as well as other users. This is a great way to find other users who can share their experiences using MedlinePlus Connect with you. In addition, you can learn about some of the Electronic Health Record systems and specific hospital or practice systems that use MedlinePlus Connect on our Users page.

Other Questions

  • Is there promotional material that I can send to other people in my institution about MedlinePlus Connect?
    • MedlinePlus Connect provides handouts, webcasts, and other informational materials. A list can be found in the Resources & News section of our Overview page.

More Information