The Merck Manual is a resource for all who need and want medical information. Merck provides the content of these Merck Manuals on the web for free (visit www.merckmanuals.com). Registration is not required, and use is unlimited. The web publications are continuously updated to ensure that the information is as up-to-date as possible. It is an online version of a traditional medical reference. This version also allows for audio/visual learning. Some of the visual portions are grainy and difficult to see. This program is available as an app through various vendors including: Skyscape $49.95 Ipad/Iphone 1 year rental $42.95 Medical Wizard (android or apple)- $39.99 All prices are as of 4-15-14.
Type of Material:
The Merck Manual is a medical reference tool available to professionals and consumers. It is a classic medical reference, the online Merck Manual includes assessment tools, audio/visuals, and acts as an open textbook/reference.
This program is recommended as a reference for healthcare professionals and students. It is not geared towards the general public and does require some medical background. It can be recommended for classwork and homework but not for lectures or any teaching programs.
Internet access is required to view the Merck Manual online. This manual is also available in print. The app is available as android, iphone, ipad, blackberry and via web.
Identify Major Learning Goals:
The purpose of this site is to offer the healthcare professional or student an online reference which has been a staple for years in the profession.
Target Student Population:
Program can be recommended for any healthcare students including medicine, nursing, pharmacy,etc. to be used as a reference source. Faculty in these programs also benefit form the resources available in the Merck Manual.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
The program does require some background in healthcare vocabulary since the chapters and topics are organized by disease name, symptoms,etc. While a deep understanding of the life sciences unlocks the true value of the information in the Merck Manual, readers at all levels will benefit from the knowledge within the reference.Computer skills required are minimal since the program is simple to follow.
The program is easy to use and requires a minimum of computer skills. The inclusion of sidebars, "popups" formulas,etc make it a ready available source of information. The program's online status makes updating easy. The audio/visuals additions can be very helpful and does give the student a good idea of various conditions and symptoms
The audio/visual programs were grainy and could present a problem based on the user's hardware. The lack of references throughout the program is bothersome especially when the user needs to look further into information in the program.
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
The program is a good reference when quick concise information is needed. The various topics and cross indexed and include sidebars and "popups" which are very helpful.
As a teaching tool this program does not seem to lend itself to act in this manner. It lacks references which make it potentially a problem when evidence based medicine is discussed. The material itself does not provide a mechanism (ie quizzes, assessments, etc.) of understanding the material.
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
The program requires little computer skills and the inclusion of sidebars and "popups" is a good addition. The program's availability through various smartphones, ipads,etc make it a good international source of information.
Cross references, formulas and audio/visual additions are a good addition and make the program a good "pocket" reference when quick concise information is needed.
The graininess of the audio/visual programs can be a problem based on the user's hardware. The lack of general reference does not allow the program to be a good "evidence based" medical reference.
Other Issues and Comments:
Overall, the program is a good quick reference. Its availability through various media and the ability to update the information as needed are also a very good plus. The sidebars, popups, and audio/visual programs are a good idea and do save time when quick information is needed. The availability of the program through various media improves its international usefulness.
However, lack of general references through the program can be problematic especially in light of our current"evidence-based" culture.
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