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Graduate Nursing Guide

What are Point-of-Care Tools?

Time-saving resources are valuable in the clinical environment. Point-of-care tools offer synthesized information/evidence evaluated by experts that often includes rating scales or graded recommendations. Point-of-care tools are generally easier to use than large databases (such as MEDLINE) and produce results in the form of systematic reviews, meta-analyses, guidelines, and critically appraised topics. These examples, known as secondary literature sources, summarize information and assist clinicians in making decisions. Point-of-care databases usually provide immediate access to full text.

Resource Types: Systems, Synopses, Syntheses, Studies 

Resource types pyramid

Resources categorized at the top of this hierarchy are most efficient to use at the point-of-care. Library resources containing authoritative, evidence-based information at the top of this hierarchy ("Systems") include 1) ACP Smart Medicine (in STAT!Ref - there is a mobile version available), 2) UpToDate, and 3) Clinical Evidence. Other point-of-care resources on this page that contain synthesized information, yet are not quite as efficient as those previously mentioned, include systematic reviews (such as those in the Cochrane Library) and clinical practice guidelines, which are available from several sources. Full details of the 4-S Hierarchy of Evidence developed by R. Brian Haynes are available at:

MEDLINE, the premier source of primary literature and studies in medicine, contains over 19 million references, which can make it challenging to search. The full process of searching, synthesizing, and evaluating original research reports is time-intensive. Point-of-care tools, in contrast, synthesize the best available evidence from multiple studies and resources for busy clinicians. Critical appraisal and consideration of the individual patient scenario by the clinician, of course, always remains necessary. Point of care tools are meant to save time in a clincial environment, but It is important to maintain proficiency with the larger databases, especially Medline, to stay up-to-date with the latest information, to identify targeted primary studies, and to research topics that are not found in point of care systems.

Mobile Applications can also be very helpful at the point-of-care, however, use caution since nearly anyone can develop an app! You must carefully evaluate the information & source. STAT!Ref is a library resource with a mobile app that is recommended to NAU students, as it provides access to ACP Smart Medicine, 5 Minute Clinical Consult, Red Book, and more.

Library Point of Care Database

Library E-Books

5 minute clinical consult Red Book Harrison's Internal Medicine

Calculators and Reference Tools (In Library Resources)

StatRef calculator link