Merck Manual

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Welcome To The New Merck Manual

Commentary
4/2/2015 Robert S. Porter, MD, Editor-in-Chief, The MSD Manuals


Note I did not say the “new Merck Manual website.” The site is the new Merck Manual. The Manuals are now all-digital. There will be no further print editions. Publishing a printed book every five years and sending reams of paper around the world on trucks, planes, and boats is no longer the optimal way to provide medical information. We are continually updating our content and publishing it online as soon as it is ready, so we make no distinction among “editions.” Our sole distinction is audience. The Professional Version retains its 116-year focus on health care students and practitioners, while the Consumer is for patients, caregivers, and everyone else who needs easy access to clear, reliable medical information.

From now on, the discussion in this location will be titled “Perspective on the News.” This will be where Merck Manual authors and editorial board members provide a reasoned perspective on recent medical news. Our experts from the various medical specialties will let consumers know how worried they should really be by the latest media scare story, and will help our professional users understand whether the latest “breakthrough” reported in the medical literature is as amazing as it seems.  

Because we are no longer constrained by what can be printed on paper, we are adding many new types of content. Both professional and consumer versions will have daily news feeds, expert commentary on the news, quizzes, information on drugs, including a pill identifier and an online tool to determine the risk of drug interactions, and lots more illustrations, animations, and photos.

Our Professional Version will also have interactive case studies and “How-To” videos. The case studies will vary in difficulty so that both student users and practitioners can challenge their diagnostic skills. The “How-To” videos are just beginning. When finished, we will have a full set of videos demonstrating how to do the various components of the neurologic examination and the orthopedic examination—the elements of the physical examination that are most difficult to learn without seeing them done. In addition, we will have concise, clear “How-To” videos covering more than 130 medical procedures that are done outside the operating room.

Our Consumer Version will also provide users with easy access to information on first aid and emergencies as well as a variety of self-assessment tools and other medical calculators.

Although much is new, what is not changed is that The Merck Manuals content is still authored by hundreds of independent medical experts worldwide, and the websites remain available free, without registration, with no ads or other commercial messaging—from anyone.

These changes are not a finish but a start. Please stay tuned for new developments and new content, and feel free to contact us with any comments or questions.