Before You Start
Synopsis: Lessons Learned
If you want the newest information or have a topic of recent interest, use a general search engine.
If you have a well defined topic that has been of interest for a while, you can use any search engine.
If you dont want adult content or inappropriate results, use a health information site.
If you want a few focused good results, use a health information site.
The only search engine that had a top relevancy ranking in both consumer and clinical questions was Fast <http://www.alltheweb.com>.
The only search engine that gave a real, clinically appropriate answer for the toughest clinical question was MedScape <http://www.medscape.com>.
But even Fast didnt allow true Boolean searching (while HotBot does). Every search engine has its strengths and weaknesses, so depending on the complexity of your question you still might want to try multiple search engines.
The Internet is experiencing growing pains with professional level information on clinical topics, but does a pretty good job with patient education and consumer health information.
If you're having trouble getting relevant or focused results, try searching on just one very specific term. The more rare or unusual the word, the better this works.
Keep looking even if relevant answers do not appear on the first page of returned results. There may be hidden gems buried further down.