Updated Nov. 28, 2006.
Prepared by Nancy McMurrer for Fundamentals of Health Law (H501).

Health Care: Substantive Medical Research

Note that some of the sources below are indexes, with bibliographic citations to articles (B), and some contain full-text materials (F). Sources marked ** are not available on academic contracts.

See also the list of databases on HealthLinks and/or the UW Libraries Research Databases. UW restricted means that you must access them from a UW-connected computer or via the Off-Campus Access link on the top right border of this page.



Index Sources




Ageline (B):  database from AARP, dealing, in part with health issues of the elderly

UW HealthLinks > Databases



AMED Allied and Complementary Medicine (B): alternative medicine


AA-MED (1985)


Elsevier BIOBASE (B): biological information


BIOBAS (1997)


Biosis Previews (B): research in biological and biomedical sciences

UW HealthLinks > Databases



Global Health (B): communicable diseases, public health, and tropical medicine


UW HealthLinks > Databases


Cancerlit (B): experimental and clinical cancer therapy




Combined Health Information Database [CHID] (B): health information and health education resources from various federal agencies

UW HealthLinks > Databases



Cumulative Index to Nursing & Allied Health [CINAHL] (B): nursing and related fields

UW HealthLinks > Databases



Current Biotechnology Abstracts (B):  all aspects of biotechnology




Derwent Biotechnology Abstracts (B):  research in biotechnology




Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders


Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders


Embase (B): covers international literature on drugs, pharmacology, hospital management, bioengineering, public health, and medicine

UW HealthLinks > Databases

EMBASE (1974)


Emergency Room Database: disease-specific statistics




ExtraMED (B): third-world biomedical coverage




Health and Wellness Database (B,F): consumer and professional publications




Incidence and Prevalence Database: data for diagnoses and procedures




Manual, Alternative & Natural therapy (B): alternative health care




MD Consult (F): medical reference materials, journals

UW HealthLinks > Reference Tools



Medline (B): major source for biomedical materials

UW HealthLinks > Databases

Medline References, All


ProQuest Medical Library (F):  biomedical articles, including graphics

UW HealthLinks > Databases



PsycINFO (B): Psychology, psychiatry, pharmacology and other social sciences

UW HealthLinks > Databases



SCISEARCH (B): biomedicine and other sciences




Sport (B): includes sports medicine and exercise physiology





Medical Periodical Literature

In addition to the indexes to periodical literature, both Westlaw and LexisNexis have a number of full-text medical and health care periodicals online. You can search a few group files:

  • Westlaw: HTH-TP

In addition, many individual medical journals are available.

  • LexisNexis: Use "Find a Source," the LexisNexis Source Locator, or call LexisNexis at 1-800-45 LEXIS (455-3947).
  • Westlaw: Search the IDEN database or call 1-800-REF-ATTY [733-2889].

To locate medical periodicals that are available to students via the Internet, go to the UW's HealthLinks page and click on the eJournals tab. Note that many titles in the list are followed by a padlock icon (UW IP or userid/password), indicating that resource is restricted to UW users. Links to full text of particular articles may also be found through some of the indexes available at the Healthlinks page.


Drug & Medical Device Information

Note that some of the sources below are indexes, with bibliographic citations to articles (B), and some contain full-text materials (F).

See also the list of databases on HealthLinks and/or the UW Libraries Research Databases. UW restricted means that you must access them from a UW-connected computer or via the Off-Campus Access link on the top right border of this page.






Adis Literature Monitoring and Evaluation Service (B): summaries & indexes to drug evaluation papers     ADIS-LMS
Derwent Drug (B): all aspects of drugs     DWTDRUG
Diogenes (B, F): FDA information relating to drugs, medical devices & industry information     DIOGENES
Drug Information Full Text (F): drug reference source   GENMED;DIF (current)  
Drugs & Pharmacology (B): EMBASE index on drugs Web (1990), UW restricted    
Drugs FDA: FDA-approved drug products UW Health Links > Databases    
Drugs of the Future (F): monographs on new drugs     DRUGFUT
Engineering Village 2 (B,F): engineering index, including bioengineering & medical equipment Web, UW restricted    
Health Devices Alerts (B): medical device evaluations     HDA
International Pharmaceutical Abstracts [IPA] (B): drugs & professional pharmaceutical practice UW Health Links > Databases   IPA
Merck Index Online (F): encyclopedia of chemical, drugs & biologicals CD ROM, available at main campus libraries   MRCKINDX
Pharmaceutical and Medical Device Law Bulletin   Pharmaceutical and Medical Device Law Bulletin  
Pharm-line (B): index to pharmaceutical literature     PHARMLINE
Sedbase (F): side effects of drugs     SEDBASE
Toxline (B): adverse effects of chemicals & drugs UW Health Links > Databases    
TSCA Chemical Substances Inventory (F): directory listing chemicals     CHEMSUBS


Medical Reference Material

Dictionaries, encyclopedias, and reference texts for a variety of subjects may be found in print in the UW Health Sciences Library; they are most likely to be kept in reference stacks and limited to library use only. For overviews of particular medical subjects written for a layperson, add the term "popular" to a keyword or subject search. Just as in the law, books written for laypersons have that term as part of the subject heading.

Online medical dictionaries and encyclopedias are also available through the UW Libraries Reference Tools page (Encyclopedias > Science & Medicine) and through the UW Healthlinks website (click on the Reference tab at the top of the page).






Attorneys' Dictionary of Medicine   Attorneys' Dictionary of Medicine  
Attorney's Illustrated Medical Dictionary (AmJur Proof of Facts 3d) KF8933.A45 2002 at Reference Area    
Attorneys' Medical Deskbook, 3d ed.     MEDDESK
Attorney's Textbook of Medicine: multi-volume medical reference looseleaf, updated quarterly RA1053.G7 1976 at Classified Stacks (not updated) HEALTH;ATBMED  
Gale Encyclopedia of Medicine (also other Gale encyclopedias on mental disorders, neurological disorders, and nursing & allied health services UW Libraries Reference Tools    
MD Consult: medical reference materials and textbooks UW HealthLinks > Reference    
Physician's Desk Reference: prescription and non-prescription drugs, published every year RS75.P5 at Reference Area Physician's Desk Reference for Prescription Drugs

Physician's Desk Reference for Non-Prescription Drugs

STAT!-Ref Medical Information: collection of medical textbooks UW Libraries Reference Tools

UW HealthLinks > Reference

Stedman's Medical dictionary R121.S8 1990 at Reference Area
UW Libraries Reference Tools
UW HealthLinks > Reference
Taber's Cyclopedic Medical Dictionary KF8933.A426 1988 at Reference Area HEALTH;TABMED


Medical Malpractice

Some of the best resources for research in this area will be treatises and loose-leaf services, either in print or online. Loose-leaf services bring together in one place statutory and administrative law, cases, and commentary.

Both Westlaw and LexisNexis have the Bureau of National Affairs (BNA) health law looseleaf books, as well as other treatises.

A number of law reviews are devoted to health care and medical/legal issues. Many of these can be found on LexisNexis and Westlaw. To find a particular law review, or to locate the range of secondary sources that are found on these online services, check their online or print directories. On LexisNexis, look at the option to Explore Sources, and click on the Area of Law By Topic link, then find Healthcare & Medical. On Westlaw, go to the Westlaw Directory and look under Topical Materials by Area of Practice for Health and Medicine. You may also call the vendors' online research help: LexisNexis at 1-800-543-6862 and Westlaw at 1-800-REF-ATTY [733-2889].

To search legal journals for articles on particular subjects, search LegalTrac, available on the Legal Databases & Indexes page.

Legal and general news sources can provide excellent coverage about recent cases or other developments in the medical malpractice area. For more detail, see Current Awareness Research, below.

See also Sheryl Summers Kramer, "A Research Guide to Medical Malpractice and the Law: Revisited," 20 Legal Ref. Serv. Q. (4) 111-126 (2001).





American Law of Medical Malpractice, 3d ed. KF2905.3 .P43 2005 at Classified Stacks   ALMM
BNA Health Care Policy Report: health care financing, reform, budget, Medicare Legal Databases & Indexes HEALTH;BNAHCP BNA-HCP
BNA Health Law Reporter: all aspects of health and health care law Legal Databases & Indexes HEALTH;BNAHLR BNA-HLR
BNA Medicare Report: all aspects of Medicare   HEALTH;BNAMED BNA-MED
Courtroom Toxicology, Courtroom Medicine, etc.   HEALTH;CTOXIC
Current Index to Legal Periodicals [CILP] (B): current law reviews Legal Databases & Indexes   CILP
Diagnostic Procedures   HEALTH; DIAGPR  
Drug Product Liability KF1297.D7 D59 at Classified Stacks HEALTH;DPLIAB  
Harney's Medical Malpractice, 4th ed. KF2905.3 .H37 1999 at Classified Stacks Medical Malpractice (Harney)  
Health Care Law: A Practical Guide   Health Care Law: A Practical Guide  
Health Law Practice Guide     HTHLPG
Incidence & Prevalence Database (F): reports and statistical data about care for particular diagnoses     IPD
Index to Legal Periodicals & Books K33 .I5 at Reference Area **LAWREV;ILP (1978) **ILP (7/81)
Injuries & Disorders in the Elderly   HEALTH;IADITE  
Lawyers' Guide to Medical Proof KF8964 .H6 at Classified Stacks Lawyers' Guide to Medical Proof  
Legal Periodicals Group File (F): health law   HEALTH:MEDJNL HTH-TP
LegalTrac (B,F): law reviews, legal newspapers, 1980-DATE Legal Databases & Indexes LAWREV;LGLIND LRI  
Medical Malpractice     PLIREF-MEDMAL
Medical Malpractice: Checklists and Discovery     MEDMALCD
Medical Malpractice: Discovery and Trial, 7th ed. KF8925.M3 M67 2002 at Classified Stacks    
Medical Malpractice: Guide to Medical Issues   HEALTH;MEDISS  
Medical Malpractice: Law and Strategy   Medical Malpractice Law & Strategy  
Medical Malpractice: Litigation Guide   HEALTH;MEDMAL  
Medical Malpractice - Texts and Periodicals     MM-TP
Preparation of Medical Cases for Settlement and Trial   HEALTH;MEDSET  
Proving Medical Diagnosis and Prognosis   HEALTH;PMEDDP  
Treatise on Health Care Law: all aspects of health care practice   Treatise on Health Care Law


Health Care: Law & Regulation

The BNA Health Law Reporter, a loose-leaf service referred to above, is a good resource for researching general health law issues. Both Westlaw and LexisNexis have specific primary law databases and files for statutory law, administrative materials, and case law relating to health care and medicine. Use the online directories, under Area of Law by Topic, then Healthcare and Medical for LexisNexis; in Westlaw, look under Topical Materials by Area of Practice for Health and Medicine. You may also call the vendors' online research help: LexisNexis is 1-800-543-6862 and Westlaw is 1-800-REF-ATTY [733-2889].


Jurisdiction and Type of Material



Federal cases Federal Health Cases (group file)
U.S. Supreme Court Cases, Health Cases
US Courts of Appeals, Health Cases
US District Courts, Health Cases  
FHTH-CS (health cases, group file)
FHTH-SCT (Supreme Court)
FHTH-CTA (Courts of Appeal)
FHTH-DCT (District Cts.)
Federal statutes USCS, Health, Titles 15, 21, 24 & 42 FHTH-USCA
Federal regulations & administrative decisions CFR, Health Related Titles
Federal Register, Healthcare Material
HEALTH;FEDREG (health - 1980)
FHTH-CFR  (health regulations, Code of Federal Regulations)
FHTH-FR  (proposed health regulations, Federal Register)
FHTH-HHS  (Health & Human Services Dep't decisions)
FHTH-FDA  (FDA Enforcement Report)
FHTH-HCFA  (Health Care Financing Administration rulings)
FHTH-PRRB  (Provider Reimbursement Review Board)

Jurisdiction and Type of Material



State cases All States Supreme Courts, Health Cases

HEALTH;XXCTS (XX = state postal abbreviation

MHTH-CS  (all states' health cases)
WAHTH-CS  (Washington Health Law Cases)
XXHTH-CS (XX = stat postal abbreviation)
State statutes State Codes, Constitutions, Court Rules & ALS,- Selected Healthcare
HEALTH;ALLCDE (health laws from all states)
HEALTH;XXCODE (XX = state postal abbreviation)
HEALTH;XXHLTH (XX = state postal abbreviation, code and regulations. Not all states are available)
State regulations State Healthcare Regulations and Registers
HEALTH;XXREGS (XX = state postal abbreviation. Not all states' regulations are available)
ENFLEX-STATE  (all 50 states' health, environment, safety regulations)
ENFLEX-WA  (Washington regulations)
ENFLEX-XX (XX = state postal abbreviation)


Current Awareness Sources

Part of practice is keeping up with the latest developments. In addition to the specialized materials listed below, general newspaper articles can be very good sources for following late-breaking stories. News sources often follow legislation, both federal and state, or they may provide information that will help you locate a document available at a government website. Both LexisNexis and Westlaw have large collections of newspapers, both in individual databases for a single newspaper or in group files. A good file for a "quick and dirty" search on LexisNexisis NEWS;CURNWS, which contains the most recent two years of the newspapers on the service; NEWS;ARCNWS covers newspaper articles that appeared earlier than two years ago. A similar database on Westlaw is ALLNEWS, which searches the most current one to two years. To search earlier years in the same database, look for the instructions on the same screen as the search window.

Industry or subject oriented newsletters are also a good resource for current developments. You can search for specific newsletters, or use the handy health and medicine group files, some of which are noted below. Use the online directories, under Area of Law by Topic, then Healthcare and Medical for LexisNexis. In Westlaw, look under Topical Materials by Area of Practice for Health and Medicine. You may also call the vendors' online research help: LexisNexis at 1-800-543-6862 and Westlaw at 1-800-REF-ATTY [733-2889].





American Political Network, American Health Line: health care and policy   American Health Line APN-HE
ASAPII Publications: professional and popular health sources NEWS;ASAPII (9/83)
Current Contents: tables of contents for journals Web (1997), UW restricted    
Health News: group news database   Healthcare News HTHNEWS
Healthcare Resources      
Health Care Services Industry News: group file     WNS-HC
Pharmaceutical News Index: current information about drugs, medical devices and related fields     PNI
Science.gov: email alert service from federal government
Westlaw Topical Highlights: summaries of recent cases and other developments in health law     WTH-HTH


Internet Resources: A Few Starting Points

Government Agencies

Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (formerly Health Care Financing Administration)


National Library of Medicine

National Institutes of Health

President's Council on Bioethics

Washington State Department of Health


World Health Organization 


American Health Lawyers Association

Duke University Center for Health Policy, Law & Management

Gallagher Law Library Internet Legal Resources

Health Hippo

Health Law Links

Health Policy Tracking Service

Lectric Law Library Lawcopedia's Medical Malpractice

National Conference of State Legislatures - Health Issues


American Medical Association

Citizens for Patients Rights

Emory University MedWeb


Mayo Clinic Health Oasis

UW HealthLinks