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Chicago Medical School Electronic Resources Guide

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This Electronic Resources Guide is a list of online and mobile-based medical information resources that are available to all RFUMS faculty, preceptors, and students. This guide is intended to assist healthcare students and providers in understanding, distinguishing, and accessing these high-quality, reliable resources. These resources may include both databases purchased by the Boxer Library and also publicly available resources that have been evaluated by the I4C Methodology and Technology working group.

*A final subsection of this guide references additional electronic resources accessed by students. These resources are not financially supported or subsided by the University. These resources have not been vetted nor recommended by the I4C Methodology and Technology working group, but rather they are included to promote transparency of accessed resources as a whole.

Table of Contents

Access Instructions

Many of the subscription-based electronic resources listed in this guide can be accessed through the library website. Simply go to the university website and look for the "library" link at the top of the page. On the library website, frequently-used resources can be found in the "popular resources" section on the right-hand side. All other resources (complete with descriptions and links to guides and tutorials) can be found by clicking the "Electronic Resources" link. Once you have found a resource you wish to use, simply click the link and log in when prompted. If you do have an affiliation (off-campus clinical instructor, emeritus, etc.) and you do not have a HelixNet account/access to library resources, please contact the IT Helpdesk at 847-578-8800.

General Resources

Access Medicine (via Boxer Library)

  • Electronic access to many book titles that have relevance to the medical curriculum. Most books are written for specialties (e.g., emergency medicine, cardiology, neurology, etc.). Using the search function will help to identify relevant books and chapters.
  • The library provides a video-based guide explaining the basics of AccessMedicine. 

Clinical Pharmacology (via Boxer Library) 

  • Detailed drug information, including drug class overviews and comparisons
  • Drug interaction report, pill identification, IV compatibility, and product images
  • Manufacturer contact information and patent expiration information
  • Patient information handouts
  • Lab reference values
  • For the mobile app, visit the Clinical Pharmacology website and click “Register” (top-right hand corner) to create a free account. Download “Clinical Pharmacology” by “Elsevier Inc” from the app store and use your new account credentials to log in.
  • Mobile App Available:


  • Registration database for many human clinical trials that are both actively recruiting or completed
  • Not all trials are registered and not all results are available within the database

Cochrane Library (via Boxer Library)

  • Independent, comprehensive evidence review of a wide variety of topics
  • Articles are similar to a meta-analysis that follows a very strict, consistent format
  • To date, includes 5,000+ drug reviews and 2,000+ treatment protocol overviews
  • The library provides a guide explaining the basics of the Cochrane Library.

Epocrates (mobile app only) 

  • Drug information, pill identification, interaction checking, calculations, and informative tables — less detailed than LexiDrugs or Micromedex databases
  • Similar drug information quality to Medscape
  • For the mobile app, download “Epocrates” by “Epocrates” (free with registration):

Library Search (via Boxer Library)

  • Search across a variety of online resources from one search box
  • Sources included in LibrarySearch include: PubMed, ScienceDirect, PsycArticles, CINAHL Complete, Cochrane Library, Academic Search Complete, and more
  • The library provides a guide explaining the basics of LibrarySearch.

Medline Plus

  • The National Institutes of Health's Web site for assisting patients in locating authoritative health information about diseases, conditions, and wellness issues

Mendeley (via Boxer Library)

  • A tool that assists in managing references and PDFs using the Mendeley Desktop Application or the Mendeley website
  • Mendeley is also an academic social network that allows you to create a profile, follow other researchers on Mendeley, and discover articles in your field
  • The library provides a guide explaining the basics of Mendeley.

MicroMedex (via Boxer Library)

  • Provides access to evidence-based information about drugs, toxicology, diseases, acute care, and alternative medicine to aid in clinical diagnosis and treatment decisions 
  • Mobile Apps Available:

Ovid MEDLINE (via Boxer Library)

  • Provides advanced features for searching the National Library of Medicine's MEDLINE database
  • The library provides a guide explaining the basics of Ovid MEDLINE.

PubMed (via Boxer Library)

  • Gold standard database for original research and manuscripts (primary literature)
  • Reference to identify appropriate journal citations and abbreviations
  • MeSH term database can improve the scope and specificity of a search
  • Use the RFUMS PubMed link to have more full-text journal access ("Find at RFUMS")
  • The library provides a number of guides on the use of PubMed, including a basic PubMed guide

Springer Medicine eBooks Collection (via Boxer Library)

  • A collection of over 2,000 medical eBooks published by Springer between 2005 and 2010

UpToDate (via Boxer Library)

  • Detailed drug information for adults, pediatrics, and patients (from the LexiComp database)
  • Drug interaction reports
  • Peer-reviewed, fully referenced articles on a wide variety of topics
  • Information regarding the mobile app:
    • The mobile app requires an active internet connection and must be reactivated every 90 days by logging into the website to re-verify your RFUMS affiliation.
    • To get the mobile app, visit the UpToDate website and click “Log In/Register” (top-right hand corner). Download “UpToDate” by “Wolters Kluwer Health” (on Android) or “UpToDate Inc” (on iOS) and use your new account credentials to log in.
    • Video demonstration about accessing the UpToDate app
  • Mobile App Available:


  • Online test preparation resource for USMLE

Databases for Research Purposes

The following databases are free or nearly free (<$1,000) that are useful for both student and faculty research projects. Be advised that RFUMS IRB approval is required for all human research even if the database is completely de-identified. Some of these databases do require technical expertise.

AACP: Research Funding Opportunities

  • Updated, aggregate list of funding opportunities for research projects from a variety of federal and non-federal sources. List produced by the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP).

Databases for Research Projects (various URLs)

Resources Independently-Accessed by Students

The following databases are additional electronic resources accessed by students. These resources are not financially supported or subsided by the University. These resources have not been vetted nor recommended by the I4C Methodology and Technology working group, but rather they are included to promote transparency of accessed resources as a whole.

AMBOSS Knowledge

  • A clinical companion, exam preparation tool and comprehensive study guide for NBME Subject Examinations and USMLE.  Platform contains question bank and interactive library.
  • Mobile app available. 


  • Inexpensive application for computer or mobile device which creates flash cards to assist in studying for exams.
  • Mobile App Available:

Boards and Beyond

  • On-demand video library with lectures for USMLE Step 1 preparation. Pricing ranges from one-week to two-year subscriptions and is available on the web only.

BRS Books

  • Series of board review study books which can be purchased on multiple websites, including Amazon.


  • Online and mobile app compatible question bank for students preparing for USMLE exams. 
  • Currently, Firecracker offers a discount for CMS students.  Please contact the Office of the Dean for details.
  • Mobile App Available:

First AID for the USMLE STEP 1

  • This guide offers a complete and current framework for USMLE Step 1 preparation and coursework. Updated annually with new mnemonics and high-yield facts, First Aid for the USMLE Step 1 is co-authored by students who excelled in their Step 1 exam and is reviewed for accuracy by a team of expert faculty advisors and nationally recognized USMLE instructors.
  • Cost: This is a book that must be purchased. (Available in print and e-book format.)

Kaplan Medical Q Bank

  • Question bank and exam preparation tool for USMLE Step 1.
  • Mobile App Available:

MD Calc

  • A medical reference tool for clinical decision-making.
  • Mobile App Available:


  • An online bank of 2,100+ USMLE-style questions
  • Cost: Subscription fee (monthly or yearly plans available)
  • Mobile App Available:


  • 35 hours of online video lectures that highlight key pathology concepts and highly-tested material. Subscription includes Fundamentals of Pathology textbook.
  • Cost: Subscription fee (3-month or 12-month plans available)


  • Comprehensive physiology resource for medical school. This resource includes videos, images and Step 1 style test questions. Subscription includes a digital textbook.
  • Cost: Subscription fee (6-week, 6-month, or 12-month plans available)


  • Similar to Sketchy Medical, but with a flashcard platform for students to use.
  • Mobile app available:

Rubins Pathology

  • This refers to the flash card and study sets contained within Rubins as review for their upcoming subject exams. 

Sketchy Medical (Micro, Path, Pharm)

  • A unique program that uses visual depictions to explain key concepts relevant to USMLE Step 1 and Step 2. Extremely popular with students.
  • Sold by individual subscription.  Previous classes have been able to get a discount for their class as a package. The copy center provides manuscripts of the videos for students to use if they desire. Sketchy Medical also sells textbooks for students to track while watching the drawings/videos.


  • Many students utilized USMLE Rx for USMLE Step 1 practice questions. 
  • It’s not unusual for students to use a primary tool for Step 1 study (usually Sketchy for concepts and UWorld for actual practice questions) but also spend some time with a secondary tool, just to get a “different look.” This requires a subscription. 
  • Mobile App Available:

University of Utah WebPath Website

  • WebPath® is a free educational resource that contains over 2,700 images with text that illustrate gross and microscopic pathologic findings along with radiologic imaging associated with human disease conditions. For self-assessment and self-directed study there are over 1,300 examination items. There are more than 20 tutorials in specific subject areas.

YouTube Armando Hasudungan

  • This free YouTube channel includes hand-drawn video tutorials that cover a range of science subjects, such as Anatomy, Immunology, Physiology and Biochemistry. This resource is commonly used by CMS students to learn concepts of Immunology.
  • Armando also has a website that includes videos categorized by discipline and body system, as well as various written articles about diseases and clinical presentations.

Recommending a New Resource

Would you like to recommend a resource for inclusion in the Electronic Resources Guide? Submit a resource for consideration by the I4C Methodology and Technology working group.