Project: FAQ

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Frequently Asked Questions

If you have a question not answered on this page, please edit this page (login, then click Edit Project on upper right) and add your question.

Other relevant pages

General (also on Project:About)

  • Who can contribute?
    • Anyone with medical training can contribute, from medical students through attendings. Allied health practitioners, eg nurse practitioners or physical therapists can also contribute.
  • Why should I register?
    • You do not have to register to view public content or leave comments. You do have to register if you want to make edits to existing dotphrases, create new dotphrases, or access institution-specific content. By registering, you can also be notified of changes to content.
  • Who owns the content?
  • Can I contribute my friend's or institution's content?
    • You can contribute content that is not copyright protected and that you have permission to contribute. You would need explicit permission from your friend or institution.
  • Can I import/export these phrases into my EHR?
    • Currently, there is no automatic way to mass import/export dotphrases into any EHR. You can one-click copy content using the blue icons next to section headings.

Signup and account creation

  • Why should I sign up with my institutional/work email address?
    • To allow you access to dotphrases which are shared within your institution.
  • What if I get an error while signing up?
    • Our spam detector may have made a mistake. Please email with your email address you'd like to sign up with.
  • What is a "profile" and why create one?
    • This lets you optionally upload a profile picture, indicate your level of training, your setting, medical specialty and EHR. You can indicate areas of interest for sections you'd like to edit. This information helps us learn more about our users and lets users learn about each other.
  • How can I edit my profile?
    • Click the person icon () at the upper right, then click on your username (the first drop down item).
  • How do I edit my real name and email address?
    • Click the person icon () at the upper right, then click on "Preferences".


  • How do I create a new dotphrase?
    • Type the name of the (new) dotphrase into the search bar at the top of the page and press enter. Review the search results. If you don't see it already listed there, press the blue "Create X" button to start a new dotphrase.
  • I created a new dotphrase but it doesn't show up in the browsing listing?
    • The database may need to be refreshed. Try clicking the refresh button () at the top right.
  • How do I edit an existing dotphrase?
    • Log in then open the dotphrase you'd like to edit, either through the browsing interface or the search bar. Then click the " Edit" button at the top right. If you don't see the Edit button, make sure you're logged in and in the full view (not preview) of the dotphrase (see next FAQ below).
  • What is the difference between the preview and full view of a dotphrase?
    • Clicking () allows you to preview a dotphrase. Clicking the dotphrase name opens the full view of the dotphrase (in a new tab). All links are disabled in the preview so you must open the full view in order to edit, rate, set tags etc. Technical limitations prevent the full view from being displayed where the preview is.
  • What is "sharing policy"? How private are "My institution only" dotphrases?
    • Sharing policy lets users choose between making dotphrases public or shared within their institution (which is based on email domain). The goal is to allow semi-private dotphrases and reduce clutter by removing less generalizable dotphrases from public view. However, it is possible for "institution only" dotphrases to be viewed by people outside of those institutions (eg in search results).
  • What should I choose for organ system?
    • Choose the single most relevant organ system. In rare cases, you can choose multiple organ systems. If administrative (eg, a message to admin staff), choose Admin. If not fitting any category, choose Other.
  • What should I choose for medical field?
    • Choose the medical field that you think is most likely to use this dotphrase. It is most likely your own field but may not be. There are some subspecialties under "Internal Medicine" and "Pediatrics" for example "Cardiology". If a dotphrase (eg, Atrial fibrillation) is most likely to be used by PCPs or on the general medicine wards, choose "Internal Medicine"; if it is most likely to be used by cardiologists, choose "Cardiology". Remember that users will be able to browse by organ system so will be able to see multiple versions of similar dotphrases.
  • What should I choose for patient population and setting?
    • Choose one or both options if they apply. If neither applies (for example, an administrative dotphrase), choose neither.
  • What should I choose for type?
    • Choose complaint for chief complaints (eg dyspnea, chest pain). Choose diagnosis for things like diabetes or atrial fibrillation.
  • What are "free tags"?
    • These are custom tags that you can make up yourself. You can also select from tags that others have created.
  • What is "Gold Standard"? Who sets it?
    • Gold standard dotphrases have been selected by section editors as examples of high quality dotphrases.
  • What is a "favorite"?
    • A favorite is chosen by individual users (by clicking on the heart) so that they can have easy access to these phrases in the future. Favoriting a dotphrase does not affect it's standing (ie, is not a rating). You can view your favorites after logging in -> open browsing page -> click at top left "My favorites".
  • What is the star rating for?
    • Star ratings are a holistic evaluation of a given dotphrase. Star ratings help the community identify high quality and/or useful dotphrases. There are no guidelines for what is a 5 star vs 1 star dotphrase.
  • What are the other ratings (eg accuracy) for?
    • There are several other rating schemes which focus on particular aspects of dotphrases. These are meant to identify particular dotphases which are outliers in these domains for either remediation or serving an exemplars. Community input on which rating domains should be included is appreciated.
  • What are Chalk Talks?
    • They are brief educational resources usually used to teach medical students or residents clinically relevant material. The ideal way to share these on this site is by uploading a picture of a completed talk. To do this, first find or create a new dotphrase page related to the topic. Make sure you select (or add) a "Chalk talk" element. Click "Save and return". Now there should be a box on the bottom right of the screen to select a file or drop a file onto the page to upload. Once you upload the file, wait a couple seconds and refresh the page to ensure it shows up (bottom right under Chalk Talk heading).
  • How can I quickly post a Chalk Talk from my phone without logging in?
    • Email your picture to and it will be posted to the site. Include your name and the topic of the talk in the body of the email. In the future, this process may be automated.

Content suggestions

Being a section editor (aka chief editor)

  • What qualifications do I need to become a section editor?
    • You need to be a resident, fellow or attending in a related field. You must be logged in as a registered user.
  • What does a section editor do?
    • A section editor is responsible for maintaining selected dotphrases.. Editors' duties are to monitor the edits to the page for quality and ideally reach out to experts to solicit review and feedback.
  • How do I volunteer to be a section editor?
    • Editors volunteer by clicking "Chief Editor: Click to volunteer" on each page they wish to be an editor for.
  • How can I find pages that need section editors?
    • You can see a list of pages in need of section editors here. Please only volunteer for pages that are public or within your institution.
  • How can I see pages that I'm the section editor for?
    • You can see a list of pages here.
  • How can I be notified if a page I'm an editor for has a change?
    • For each page you volunteer to be a section editor for, go to that page and click the "Actions" dropdown (upper right of page) then "Watch". You can see which pages you are watching by clicking the person icon in the upper right, then clicking "Watchlist". You'll be notified to the email address you set in your profile.

Best practices
Suggestions (not requirements):

1. Your dotphrase can contain any/all of Subjective (S), Objective (O), Assessment/Plan (AP), Clinical education (ED), Patient Info (PI), or Admin/Other (AO). It can address a known diagnosis or an undifferentiated complaint. Encourage focusing on Assessment/Plan since this is the most challenging and not many existing dotphrases cover this.

2. Please include evidence where appropriate, e.g.:

  • for Subjective and Objective elements, cite likelihood ratios (preferred) or sensitivity/specificity
  • for Assessment/Plan, cite NNT/NNH for treatments and/or clinical decision rules
  • cite references
  • include links to shared decision aids

3. Write text in such a way as it can be directly used without editing, (eg, "The patient denied x, y, z" rather than "x, y, z?")

4. If S/O/AP have significant branch points, (eg, micro/normo/macrocytic anemia), indicate that and write separate text that is appropriate to each with the understanding that the other branches' text can be deleted.

5. For plans, try to include first, second and/or third line workup.

Comments, questions or edits for this guide? Click here.