Despite all the superhighway metaphors, supporting patient care with information from the Internet is still a major challenge. Fueled by economical computer disk space, biomedical resources continue to proliferate, often with little oversight or appraisal. Especially when validity is essential, sifting through this mass of unsubstantiated information is an impractical task. The National Cancer Institute's (NCI's) CancerNet and companion document delivery system, CancerFax, are notable exceptions. Together, they provide a medical information service worthy of emulation.
CancerNet is composed of portions of the PDQ (Physician Data Query) and CANCERLIT databases, NCI Fact Sheets, and a CancerNet News section. In total, it comprises about 500 documents, which can be accessed through both gopher and World Wide Web (WWW) servers. The documents are well referenced and frequently point to additional sources of information.
CANCERLIT and PDQ are also available from the National Library of Medicine (eg, via Grateful Med) and commercial database
Pratt GF. CancerNet. JAMA. 1995;273(24):1963. doi:10.1001/jama.1995.03520480083051