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Why we set up Pulse Reference

Why we set up Pulse Reference

Editor Jaimie Kaffash on Pulse’s new search tool that simplifies the symptoms presented in primary care

A few months back, chatting with a GP, we were talking about what would help GPs in their consulting rooms. There are, of course, thousands of websites with medical information.

But there was a real gap, the GP said, for a site that really understood what a GP consultation was like. Because most reference sources for GPs start with the diagnosis and peg their information on that. Whereas in reality, many (maybe most) GP consultations start with symptoms – messy, confused, sometimes multiple symptoms, which may not follow the textbooks and which, only after a lot of head scratching and soul searching, start to distil into anything meaningful.

Furthermore, gold-standard sites tend to have an ivory tower rather than grassroots feel and don’t really reflect the tips and red flags all GPs find helpful in their day-to-day work.

But, sadly, we know that time pressures, or the lack of available resources, mean that this is an unobtainable target. What was needed more than ever was information that was clear, straightforward and easily usable that can be applied in your own practice.

That’s where we came up with the idea of Pulse Reference, based on the Symptom Sorter book. Pulse Reference is a free site with content written by GPs, and a format designed by GPs.

For the initial launch, we are focusing on symptoms. We want to make sense of what these messy symptoms could be and in a way that you can easily navigate in short consultations. We will later move on to possible treatments, but in a way that is designed for GPs in the UK.

This is a new step for us at Pulse and it is done to try and support GPs. I’m eager to know your thoughts – please get in touch at

You can access Pulse Reference here

Jaimie Kaffash is editor of Pulse. Follow him on Twitter @jkaffash or email him at