Frequently Asked Questions

Who writes the material found on the PALS?
The material on the PALS is written by doctors, medical students under the guidance of a doctor, and other authors under the guidance of a doctor.
What is the PALS?
PALS stands for Patient Activated Learning System. The PALS is a patient-driven online system for questions about health, disease, and medicines. Rather than having pages of information about different topics all together, the PALS focuses on answering specific questions. Each PALS article provides a single answer to a single question.
Who developed the PALS?
The PALS was developed by Monika Safford, MD, an internist; and Jeff Curtis, MD, a rheumatologist. Dr. Safford is the Chief of General Internal Medicine at Weill Cornell Medicine and Dr. Curtis is a Professor of Medicine at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
How will I know if the question I submitted was answered?
If you select the ‘Notify me after the PALS team reviews my question’ box located in the ‘Submit Question’ pop-up, you will be asked to provide your name and e-mail address. This allows the PALS team to e-mail you when your question has been reviewed. You can choose not to provide your e-mail address however, in that case you will not be notified when the PALS team reviews your question.
How do I use the PALS?
You can use the PALS in a couple of ways. Using the search bar located on the home page, you can use the PALS by entering medicine name, disease name or by typing in your question. You can also use the PALS by searching a topic in ‘PALS Courses.’ The courses are a combination of articles meant to provide you with the most relevant information pertaining to the course topic. Your doctor can also assign material for you to read based on illnesses you may have or medicines you are taking.
When was the PALS developed?
The PALS was conceived in the summer of 2015. After a period of development, PALS was first released online in the fall of 2016.
What if I don’t find the information I am looking for?
If you do not find information you are looking for you can submit a question using the ‘Submit Question’ feature.
What is the ‘See the Science’ section?
‘See the Science’ is a summary of the scientific information used to answer the question at hand. This information is then translated into a clear, non-technical, concise, and accurate language for the main text.
Why is there an assessment question?
The assessment question tests your understanding of the material you just watched or read. It is not mandatory but it helps the PALS team know if the material is understandable and straightforward. Several incorrect answers to an assessment question lets the PALS team know which material is not clear and may need improvement.
Should I read the ‘See the Science’ section?
If you would like to see where the information for the main text was derived from, you should read ‘See the Science.’ The information in the ‘See the Science’ section is the same information found in the main text presented in a different manner. ‘See the Science’ provides a more extensive answer using medical terminology, details of medical literature, and research-based data. Whereas the main text is a summarized translation of ‘See the Science’ that provides a straightforward answer to the question at hand.
What kind of questions can I submit to the PALS?
You can submit questions related to health, disease, or medicine.
Why was the question I submitted changed?
The wording of a question can be changed so that it benefits a larger audience. Questions are also broken up so that each question has one specific answer. Questions that have two or more questions in one will be broken into individual questions. For example, the question “Why do I need to take 3 medicines for my high blood pressure and how long will I need to take these medicines?” really has two questions in one. The first part of the question specifies 3 medicines, which may not apply to other PALS users. This question would change and be broken into “Why do I need to take more than 1 medicine for my high blood pressure?” and “How long will I need to take medicine for my high blood pressure?” The original question now applies to all people taking more than one medicine and is now two single questions, that each have a single answer.
Can I submit a question to be answered?
Yes, you can submit a question to the PALS team. If the question relates to health, disease, or medicine, and has not already been answered, the PALS team will answer the question.