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

MedlinePlus Connect: How it Works

MedlinePlus Connect accepts and responds to requests for information 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 patient information. MedlinePlus Connect can accept only one code per request.

MedlinePlus Connect is available as a Web application or a Web service. MedlinePlus Connect can respond in English or Spanish.

Code Types If you send: MedlinePlus Connect responds with:
Diagnosis (problem) codes: MedlinePlus Health Topic Information

Genetics Home Reference Information [2]
Medication Code Requests:
  • RxCUI (RxNorm Concept Unique Identifier)
  • NDC (National Drug Code)
MedlinePlus Drug Information
Laboratory Test Codes:
  • LOINC® (Logical Observation Identifiers Names and Codes)
MedlinePlus Lab Test Information

[1] MedlinePlus Connect coverage of SNOMED CT focuses on CORE Problem List Subset codes (Clinical Observations Recording and Encoding) and their descendants.

[2] For appropriate English SNOMED CT and ICD-10-CM responses

What is available to patients or providers within systems using MedlinePlus Connect?

The Web application and Web service provide responses in different formats. How it looks depends on how it is implemented.

Web Application

The Web application returns a formatted response page. (Refer to image.) The page is delivered to your EHR or other health system ready to use. The patient or provider may select from the links on the MedlinePlus Connect response page or go directly to the MedlinePlus website.

A sample MedlinePlus Connect Web application patient response page on Knee Replacement that contains links to the relevant MedlinePlus page with extensive articles, videos and images and also links to short summaries and instructionsView image full size
Sample Web Application response for a problem code

Visit the Web Application Demonstration page for more examples of Web Application response pages.

Web Service

The MedlinePlus Connect REST-based Web service provides access to the same information as the Web Application but returns XML, JSON, or JSONP. This gives users greater flexibility to tailor the display and delivery of the information. Organizations can use the Web service response to incorporate MedlinePlus information and links into any health IT interface. An organization implementing the MedlinePlus Connect Web service may select which MedlinePlus links and information to provide to the user.

Visit the Web Service Demonstration page for more examples of Web Service response pages.

More Information