Purpose: To compare PubMed Clinical Queries and UpToDate regarding the amount and speed of information retrieval and users' satisfaction.
Method: A cross-over randomized trial was conducted in February 2009 in Tehran University of Medical Sciences that included 44 year-one or two residents who participated in an information mastery workshop. A one-hour lecture on the principles of information mastery was organized followed by self learning slide shows before using each database. Subsequently, participants were randomly assigned to answer 2 clinical scenarios using either UpToDate or PubMed Clinical Queries then crossed to use the other database to answer 2 different clinical scenarios. The proportion of relevantly answered clinical scenarios, time to answer retrieval, and users' satisfaction were measured in each database.
Results: Based on intention-to-treat analysis, participants retrieved the answer of 67 (76%) questions using UpToDate and 38 (43%) questions using PubMed Clinical Queries (P<0.001). The median time to answer retrieval was 17 min (95% CI: 16 to 18) using UpToDate compared to 29 min (95% CI: 26 to 32) using PubMed Clinical Queries (P<0.001). The satisfaction with the accuracy of retrieved answers, interaction with UpToDate and also overall satisfaction were higher among UpToDate users compared to PubMed Clinical Queries users (P<0.001).
Conclusions: For first time users, using UpToDate compared to Pubmed Clinical Queries can lead to not only a higher proportion of relevant answer retrieval within a shorter time, but also a higher users' satisfaction. So, addition of tutoring pre-appraised sources such as UpToDate to the information mastery curricula seems to be highly efficient.