What Micromedex search trends tell us about clinician diligence

Because Micromedex is used millions of times a month by healthcare professionals around the world, we have a unique view into what type of clinical information our users need.

Our usage trends tell us many things, but one common thread is very clear: Clinicians care deeply about accessing the most current and reliable information to help them safely and effectively treat their patients.

Here are three conclusions we’ve drawn based on strong evidence from our users’ behavior:

1. Micromedex users want to go deeper. 

Each drug monograph in Micromedex has a Quick Answers and In-Depth tab. Although most users arrive at Quick Answers first, nearly half proceed to the same drug’s In-Depth page for FDA Uses, and about 80% visit In-Depth for Non-FDA Uses, which contains off-label usage information.

Since details about studies and clinical source material can be found on the In-Depth page, we believe this behavior demonstrates that clinicians are reading study details to make sure the findings are applicable to their unique patient — particularly in the case of off-label uses.

In addition, the top ten monograph sections accessed include Dosing (including Pediatric Dosing), Adverse Effects, Dose Adjustment, and How Supplied, indicating that Micromedex users are taking extra care to research information to support the safe and appropriate use of medications for the patients they serve.

2. Micromedex users want specific answers for individuals.

There are a few highly visited sections of Micromedex that indicate to us that users need more than general clinical information — they are looking for insights so they can administer medications for each patient safely and correctly:

  • Do Not Crush 

As its name implies, the Do Not Crush list includes oral dosage forms that shouldn’t be crushed for ingestion, either because it interferes with intended absorption or it undermines an extended-release design.

Do Not Crush is one of Micromedex’s Drug Consults, which are fully referenced documents that discuss topics such as clinical practice guidelines or drug therapy considerations in a concise, actionable manner. Other popular Drug Consults include Extravasation, Beers Criteria, and Cannabis Characteristics, Formulations, and Clinical Considerations.  

  • IV Compatibility 

The Intravenous (IV) Compatibility application in Micromedex is a popular interactive tool that allows users to screen multiple drugs in solution for parenteral administration to ensure they’re safe to combine.

  • How Supplied 

At first glance, it may be puzzling why How Supplied information would be popular. This shares dose forms and strengths. But we believe this information is helping providers navigate drug supply issues — finding the right medication for a patient entails making sure it’s available in the appropriate form and strength. Also, pharmacy managers looking for a unified solution to navigate both their drug supply management and clinical guidance for substitutions may be interested in OrbitalRX with Micromedex.

3. Users rely on Micromedex for current medication information.

When we examine which types of drugs are most frequently accessed in Micromedex, the top of the category list includes agents for the central nervous system, infectious diseases, biologics and diabetes. We believe this is in part due to the rapidly evolving therapies for these categories, as well as how commonly these drugs are used in both the hospital and the ambulatory settings.

In addition to monitoring top drug lookups, the Micromedex team also compares usage trends over time. Our data reveals that activity tends to increase for newer medications. In comparing drugs that had more than 25% increase in activity in a six-month period (compared with the previous six months), 75% were approved in the past five years, and more than half in the past two. These trending drugs represent therapies for complex or challenging to treat diagnoses such as severe asthma, myasthenia gravis, ALS and familial hypercholesterolemia.

Activity spikes can be traced to new approvals, new indications, or new formulations as providers seek to understand the latest recommendations. Knowing how new drug therapies or formulations will affect a diverse patient population can be tricky, so it’s essential that clinicians can find the details necessary to know when they’re appropriate to prescribe. For example, atogepant, which was approved in September 2021 as a preventive treatment for episodic migraines, had a 733% increase in Micromedex activity in 2022. 

Another example that should come as no surprise: The top searched drug on Micromedex is currently semaglutide. This medication, traditionally used to treat diabetes, has received recent approvals as a weight loss drug under the brand names Ozempic and Wegovy and has been very much in the news, in part due to a worldwide shortage since mid-2022.

For the Micromedex team, these findings are much more than academic. We regularly examine our usage data to make sure we’re providing the clearest and most current information for the topics that users rely on most. We also have the utmost respect for user privacy and never track individuals’ activities; all the data on which this article is based was blinded and cumulative, and the conclusions we draw from it are based on our clinical expertise and knowledge of the product.

We are honored that so many providers look to Micromedex every day to provide current, thorough and accurate clinical information. We take very seriously our responsibility to provide the best information to our users, so they in turn can provide the best care for their patients. 

Interested in exploring Micromedex for yourself? Sign up for a free trial.

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