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Obituary : Dr. Burton Rose- Founder of UpToDate

This is an Obituary in remembrance of Dr. Burton Rose- Founder of UpToDate service which has become the  revolutionary point of care resource in clinical medicine passed away on 24th April 2020. He was an entrepreneur and visionary far ahead of his time.

Dr. Burton ‘Bud’ David Rose  was born in Brooklyn, NY on November 19, 1942 to Sam and Edith Rose. He graduated from Medical school from the New York university and then pursued a renal fellowship in Massachusetts General Hospital.

In 1986, after obtaining his first computer, he believed that a computer based information would offer advantage over traditional textbopoks as it had no limitation of space, it could be updated form time to time and because it could be updated from time to time, a specific recommendation for point of care could be made.  He was probably inspired by one of the landmark articles on medical informatics published  in the Annals of Internal medicine in 1986

After having written his renowned textbook in nephrology“Clinical Physiology of Acid-Base and Electrolyte Disorders,” he teamed up with Joe Rush, who was well versed in programming and was pursuing a fellowship  at the Brigham and Women’s  hospital to bring out the matter in an electronic format.   Dr. Burton met his publishers to pitch the concept of converting the textbook into a format that would be accessible by computers. However the idea was immediately rejected.

Undaunted by this, in 1992, Dr. Burton Rose along with Joseph Rush formed the company in the basement of his house and the first Uptodate resource which  was for Nephrology was brought out in the form of a floppy disk. Perhaps what contributed to its unprecedented success was the packaging which was envisioned by Dr. Burton. The format of presentation was not just a write-up about a particular topic but as answers to questions that clinicians would face in their day to day practise.

Today Uptodate  is written by over 5,700 physician authors, editors, and peer reviewers. It is available both via the Internet and offline on multiple platforms. It has become an invaluable tool for interns, post graduate residents and even senior consultants enabling them to take evidence based decision quickly and conveniently in day to day practise.

Dr. Burton Rose was also diagnosed to have Alzheimers disease in the last few years and he sadly passed away at the age of 77 years from Alzheimer’s disease complicated by the COVID-19 virus. His legacy will live on forever as everyday thousands of patients across the globe benefit from the information in UpTodate accessed by their treating clinicians.

Dr.Nitin Yashas is a medical oncology resident and contents editor at TREAT

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