The medical world can be vast and confounding to those not operating in it professionally. There are medical terms, pharmaceuticals, physicians, research and clinical trials, procedures … and the list goes on!

This week, Hg reviews three useful websites for investigators conducting research on a medical-based case: LegitScript, ProQuest Dialog, and Open Payments.

Founded in 2007, LegitScript’s vision is to inform businesses, governments, and the public about which commercial entities and products are legitimate and which are not. The service gathers data from regulatory agencies across the globe and updates its database of more than 110,000 products daily. The general public can access a reduced version of its database for free; investigators received full access via registration and a monthly user-fee. Investigators can perform searches against their database of dietary supplements, designer drugs, pharmaceuticals, and other healthcare products and Websites—including over 47,000 “problematic products.” Their product lookup will classify the product as a yellow, orange, or red flag, if the product should not be marketed or sold. Aside from their free tool, the pharmaceutical industry uses LegitScript’s services for certification, brand, and merchant monitoring. According to their Website, they are used by 60 countries and more than 15 languages.

Content provider ProQuest Dialog offers a medical synonym feature which allows users to include related medical terms in their searches and alerts. For example, if the user is searching for information on headaches, ProQuest Dialog will also include such synonyms as cephalalgia, encephalalgia, and encephalodynia in the search. This feature, available in all ProQuest Dialog databases, is handy for intellectual property searchers, and helps investigators locate content that can be buried in medical or legal language. Visit this link for this feature and other specialized ProQuest Dialog features.

The Open Payments Website collects—and makes public— information about the financial relationships between medical providers and the health care industry. A federal government Website, Open Payments is run by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to help the healthcare consumer make informed decisions. The public can access the information in this transparency program for free. The financial relationships encompass research activities, meal payments, gifts, travel payments, and speaking fees. The user can search for a teaching hospital, a doctor, or a company that has made payments. The site offers an overview of the data, as well as a data dictionary that provides more details.

For example, let’s say you are looking up a doctor named Jonathan Smith but you are unsure what city he is in. Type his name in the search box, and you get 17 physicians.

From that list, you can identify your target via location and area of practice. Choose you subject and then you are offered financial information for your chosen year.

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