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Enhanced MedlinePlus Connect Web Service Response

Today the National Library of Medicine (NLM) enhanced the MedlinePlus Connect Web service for problem/diagnosis codes by adding selected links to related information for patients to the XML response. Here’s an example of how these links appear for ICD-9-CM code 493.22 in the Web service response XML. The links appear beneath the topic summary, in bulleted list format. You can see responses for other problem/diagnosis codes by visiting the MedlinePlus Connect Web service demonstration page.

Prior to this release, MedlinePlus Connect returned these selected links via the Web application response but not in the Web service response. This change applies to both English and Spanish responses for ICD-9-CM and SNOMED CT requests.

Special Instructions for Current Users of the MedlinePlus Connect Web Service:

In the Web service response XML, the new links appear in the <summary> node within a new unordered list having the class “NLMrelatedLinks”. The impact on applications that utilize the MedlinePlus Connect Web service is that the block of text beneath the summary and summary attribution grows vertically to accommodate the new links in bulleted list format. Users that would like to display this new content do not need to modify their requests to the service in any way. The links are now available in the XML response.

The range of related links associated with health topics in the MedlinePlus Connect Web service response varies from zero to dozens, depending on the health topic. On average, health topics have four to five related links assigned to them. Users may choose to display all of the links or code their applications to only display a certain number of links. As an example, the MedlinePlus Connect Web application response page only displays a maximum of five related links and gives users the option to “see all” to view the entire list. You can see an example of this expandable/collapsible menu formatting on the Web application response page for ICD-9-CM code 493.22.

Users that prefer not to display this new content should consider suppressing the links in the new “NLMrelatedLinks” class through the use of style sheets.

This enhancement only affects the Web service response for problem/diagnosis codes (ICD-9-CM, SNOMED-CT). There are no changes to the Web application response and no changes to the Web service response for lab tests or medications.

If you have questions about this enhancement, please contact the MedlinePlus Connect team.

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