Multicenter randomized comparative trial of Micromedex, Micromedex with Watson, or Google to answer drug information questions


  • Christopher Giuliano Associate Professor (Clinical), Wayne State University Eugene Applebaum College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, Detroit, MI
  • Sean McConachie Assistant Professor (Clinical), Wayne State University Eugene Applebaum College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, Detroit, MI
  • Julie Kalabalik-Hoganson Associate Professor and Director of Pharmacy Practice, Fairleigh Dickinson University School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, Florham Park, NJ



Information Storage and Retrieval, Internet, Medical Informatics, Pharmacy Student


Objective: The purpose of this study was to compare pharmacy students’ ability to correctly answer drug information questions using Micromedex with Watson, Micromedex without Watson, or Google.

Methods: This multicenter randomized trial compared pharmacy student responses to drug information questions using Micromedex with Watson, Micromedex without Watson, or Google from January to March of 2020. First- to fourth-year pharmacy students at two institutions were included. The primary outcome was the number of correct answers. Secondary outcomes were the time taken to answer the questions and differences in number of correct answers by pharmacy student year and institution.

Results: The analysis included 162 participants: 52 students in the Micromedex group, 51 students in the Watson group, and 59 students in the Google group. There was a significant difference among groups in the total number of questions answered correctly (p=0.02). Post-hoc analysis revealed that participants in the Micromedex group answered more questions correctly than those in the Google group (p=0.015). There were no significant differences between Micromedex and Watson groups (p=0.52) or between Watson and Google groups (p=0.22). There was also no difference in time to complete the questions among groups (p=0.72).

Conclusion: Utilizing Google did not save students time and led to more incorrect answers. These findings suggest that health care educators and health sciences librarians should further reinforce training on the appropriate use of drug information resources.



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Original Investigation