Wolters Kluwer and Ariadne Labs today announced the celebration of their 10-year partnership to provide free UpToDate access to health providers in resource-limited settings through the Better Evidence Program.
Since 2009, Wolters Kluwer has donated free UpToDate subscriptions to over 20,000 healthcare professionals in over 145 countries, many of whom had no prior access to online resources.
Clinicians around the world are challenged to provide the right diagnoses, treatments, and clinical guidance to every patient in their care. Tools such as UpToDate, an evidence-based clinical resource, ensure clinicians can find and integrate the latest evidence; however, clinicians in resource-limited settings often lack access to such tools, making the challenges they face even greater.
Better Evidence is a program of Ariadne Labs, a joint center for health system innovation at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Better Evidence tests and spreads digital tools for providers to improve the efficiency, effectiveness, and quality of care.
“The failure to deliver the care we know how to deliver causes more harm than lack of access to care,” said Rebecca Weintraub, MD, Director, Better Evidence, Ariadne Labs. “We launched Better Evidence in 2009 to ensure front line providers can access and integrate digital tools to improve their diagnostic accuracy and clinical management. Longitudinal usage of these digital tools will improve health outcomes. The result is better medical care for all,” she said.
Clinicians who have benefited from the program attest to the impact UpToDate has had on their ability to deliver the best possible care for patients. One clinician in South Africa described how the resource helped them to prevent further infections during an outbreak of chickenpox in their maternity ward, while a clinician in Tanzania credits UpToDate with providing the information needed to treat an infant’s suspected heart problem without access to diagnostic equipment.
A clinician from Uganda shared how the resource helped prevent an epidemic, saying: “This past October, we had a patient arrive with high fever and general body aches, soon followed by skin bruising and epistaxis. We used Better Evidence to look at the possible differential diagnosis and suspected hemorrhagic fever. We had no experience with this disease before and would not have recognized it without the help of the tool. The Ugandan authorities were alerted – and arrived quickly. This case was finally diagnosed as the first case of Crimean-Congo Hemorrhagic Fever (CCHF) in Uganda in the past four years. Following the quick diagnosis, the source of the infection was traced, and an epidemic was prevented."
To further expand the reach of the program, in 2019 Ariadne Labs launched the Better Evidence for Training in sub-Saharan African medical schools and their affiliated training facilities. Building on a pilot study that showed the utility of providing a free resource to medical students and faculty in Rwanda, the program provides institutional access to UpToDate. In the program’s first year, 21 training facilities in six countries received UpToDate access, and 650 students and faculty were trained to use the clinical decision support resource. For reference, all the top medical schools in the US provide UpToDate for their students and faculty.
“It’s incredibly gratifying to see how the germ of an idea 10 years ago has matured and now plays a critical role in saving lives. These clinicians on the front lines are true heroes — dedicated to making the lives of their patients and their communities better,” said Peter Bonis, MD, Chief Medical Officer, Clinical Effectiveness, Wolters Kluwer, Health.