In 2013, NLM observes an important milestone—the 15th anniversary of its
award-winning consumer health web site, MedlinePlus (www.medlineplus.gov).
Launched in October 1998, MedlinePlus features trustworthy content from NIH
as well as other federal agencies and private organizations.
Since its creation, MedlinePlus has been visited approximately 1.7 trillion
times—not bad for a web site just in its teens. More than 2 million MedlinePlus
pages are viewed each day by people seeking accurate, up-to-date information.
And MedlinePlus consistently ranks at or near the top of the American Customer
Satisfaction Index for government web sites.
What started as a simple web-based search engine with 22 health topic pages
has grown to include more than 950 health topics, along with interactive health
tutorials and surgery videos, illustrations, health check tools, a medical dictionary,
drug and supplement information, links to clinical trials and PubMed articles
and much more.
In 2002, a Spanish-language version of the site debuted. The accompanying NIH
MedlinePlus magazine helped expand the web site’s reach, coming out in an
English (2006) and Spanish/English version (2009). A trans-NIH advisory board
oversees the contents of both. Subscriptions are free.
A mobile version of the MedlinePlus site premiered in 2010, giving users access
where and when they need it. And in 2011, a new product, MedlinePlus Connect,
was created to respond to requests related to diagnoses, medications and
lab tests, connecting patients and health professionals to MedlinePlus content
via electronic health records.
“Recognizing that informed consumers are better patients, NLM developed
MedlinePlus, an easy-to-understand resource,” said NLM director Dr. Donald
Lindberg in 1998.
In 2013, he assessed the progress of the popular site. “We’re very proud of MedlinePlus.
For 15 years, it’s provided access to trustworthy information from NIH,
HHS and other federal departments and trusted private organizations. Millions
of patients and their families have benefited from MedlinePlus. Let’s see what
the next 15 years will bring.”