Putting ClinicalKey in doctors’ hands through Research4Life’s developing country access

Medical search engine lets doctors and nurses find evidence-based answers while treating patients

Pediatric Residents Toua Xiong Gniachue, MD, Phengphet Keobouapha, MD, and Dorkeo Bouapao, MD, access HINARI for the first time at Mahosot Hospital in Vientiane, Lao PDR.

Editor’s note: This month, we are exploring the theme “from science to society” – how research and innovation are making a difference in all aspects of life. With the ClinicalKey initiative featured in this story, medical professionals in developing countries will be able to get evidence-based treatment information from a massive database of clinical content.

Whether they are based in Boston, Beijing or Botswana, doctors everywhere struggle with information overload. Treating patients and keeping up with their administrative work and the latest research is more than a fulltime job.

Since 2012, doctors have been using ClinicalKey to quickly distill evidence-based answers from a massive database of clinical content. It’s an intuitive search engine that helps them save time, make more accurate diagnoses and find best practices at the point of care.

ClinicalKey screenshot

In June, ClinicalKey will be made available in over 80 developing countries through Research4Life, a free and low-cost research access program for clinicians, researchers and policymakers. ClinicalKey will join Elsevier’s ScienceDirect and Scopus among the 50,000 peer reviewed books, journals and databases that are currently available from more than 200 publishers.

John Danaher, MD"Making ClinicalKey available to doctors and nurses in developing countries through Research4Life will help those medical professionals utilize the latest evidence-based clinical information to achieve the best outcomes for their patients," said Dr. John Danaher, President of Clinical Solutions at Elsevier.

Hinari, Research4Life’s biomedical arm that provides access to health and medical research, has steadily improved its research collection since it was founded in 2001. But adding a widely available, commercially designed and robust clinical search engine for healthcare professionals should greatly boost usability. ClinicalKey has the potential to speed up how medical research is consulted in developing countries.

Lenny Rhine, Coordinator of the Medical Library Association (MLA) Librarians Without Borders program has personally trained hundreds of doctors and researchers across the developing world to use Hinari. Rhine said he’s seen a definite impact over the years:

At workshops over the past 11 years, I observed that many of participants were also involved in clinical practice and found the Hinari Evidence-based Medicine resources extremely useful. As a trainer, it’s clear to me that the addition of the ClinicalKey search tool with access to relevant resources from Elsevier and the First Consult reviews will be invaluable to this clinical oriented population. I will definitely highlight this to our doctors and other practitioners in our Hinari Evidence-based Medicine resources training module!

 Lenny Rhine, Coordinator of the MLA Librarians without Borders program (2nd from left on back row) with participants in his Hinari workshop in Fiji.

Dr. Kristina Krohn, a Health Frontiers field representative, shared her perspective from Laos:

The joy on the Lao doctors' faces the first time they had access to medical journal articles through Hinari was better than watching a kid in a candy store. They devoured everything. Hopefully, ClinicalKey can help them sort through the medical literature without getting overwhelmed by the sheer amount of information available.

Kimberly ParkerHinari is managed by the World Health Organization (WHO) in partnership with Yale University. Kimberly Parker, Research4Life’s Hinari Programme Manager, commented on the implications of ClinicalKey for Hinari: “In 2012, the WHO Strategy on Research declared that health policies and practices globally should be informed by the best research evidence – and so we are delighted that ClinicalKey will help us grow the evidence-based medicine materials available for low- and middle-income countries through Hinari and provide an expanded basis for the informed decision-making of practitioners and policymakers.”

Research4Life and Elsevier

Research4Life – Access to Research in the Developing WorldElsevier is a founding publisher of Research4Life, a public-private partnership to bridge the digital research divide. Since 2001, it has grown to include four UN agencies (WHO, FAO, UNEP, and WIPO), Yale and Cornell Universities, and over 200 publishers to provide free and low-cost scientific research to scientists and doctors in more than 100 developing countries. We contribute over a quarter of the 77,000 peer-reviewed resources in Research4Life, including over 3,100 Elsevier journals and 13,000 books and Scopus. In 2016, there were over 3.5 million Research4Life article downloads from ScienceDirect. We also provide funding for training through the Elsevier Foundation along with technical and communications expertise to boost usage and awareness.

Related resources

Empowering Knowledge pageFrom science to society

Health research can make a huge difference in the medical treatment we receive. At Elsevier, tools like ClinicalKey bring the results of that research to health professionals at the point of care. For more stories about people and projects empowered by knowledge, we invite you to visit Empowering Knowledge.



Written by

Ylann Schemm

Written by

Ylann Schemm

As Director of the Elsevier Foundation, Ylann Schemm drives technology-enabled partnerships to advance diversity in science, build research capacity and support global health around the world. She has been an integral part of the Foundation’s growth since joining as a Program Officer in 2008. In addition, Ylann currently serves as Elsevier’s Director of External Partnerships, building on 15 years in corporate relations and responsibility roles and focusing on key technology, gender and sustainability collaborations.


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