Two dominant characteristics of the current practice of medicine are the "explosion" in medical knowledge and the increased importance of the medical record in documenting patient care for an ever-growing list of users. The practice of medicine is dominated by how we process information, how we record information, how we retrieve information, and how we communicate information. The need to improve the management of this information has been an important driving force stimulating the development of information technology applications in medicine. Although the potential of the use of information technology in medicine is still only beginning to be realized, the development and dissemination of computer applications is occurring at an ever-increasing rate.
The explosion of knowledge in the basic medical sciences and in the development of new methods for diagnosing and treating illness makes it a formidable task to keep abreast of current medical literature. The most important medical literature