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Wasting your life online

Are we all spending too much time on the Internet? It seams that a lot of people I know, the people whose blogs I am reading, the people who I follow on Twitter, are actually some kind of electrical beings living inside the biggest web of all. They are constantly online. Seriously, when they are not behind their computers, they are using their mobile phones just to always stay connected. Is this too much. Is there a limit. I mean, the next time I design some sort of a web survey, I am not going to ask how much hours a day you spend online, but rather how much hours a day you spend living in the real world. And sure, I confess, I am no much different.

Ahhh just forget about it, this great Joy of Tech cartoon got me thinking. Don’t worry, I’ll be myself again once I check my Twitter, and MyBlogLog, and Facebook, and LinkedIn, and Delicious, and my RSS reader, and Gmail, and …..

Joy of Tech

By the way, you can read the interview with the artist behind the Joy of Tech at the Croatian blog for Macintosh users I actually write for. Just scroll down, the English version is there somewhere.

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openECGproject

open ECG project
I am proud to present to you the openECGproject. Something I helped to start up and the thing that kept me away from my blog for almost two weeks.

The openECGproject is essentially an online community conceived around a simple, but challenging and worthy goal – to develop an open source hardware and software solution for electrocardiography. More precisely, to develop an open source, low cost, and clinically functional 12-lead PC-based ECG with interpretive software.

The idea was conceived to help those hospitals and doctors, mainly from the Third World, who cannot afford similar currently available and expensive commercial products. Development of a free alternative could, I believe, have a profound impact on health care not just in poor countries, but in others too.

The whole project is philanthropic and depends on the efforts of volunteers who want to make a difference. Anyone can help, so be sure to visit the site, promote it and recommend it to others.

Thank you for your support.

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Three articles about Pubmed

Three research papers about PubMed were published in open access journals in a short period of time. Two of them are written by the same authors and are dealing with the use of Pubmed among clinicians. The third one talks about two different approaches to teaching PubMed to medical students.

Answers to questions posed during daily patient care are more likely to be answered by UpToDate than PubMed

Hoogendam A, Stalenhoef AF, Robbé PF, Overbeke AJ.

Department of Medicine, Division of General Internal Medicine, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.

Authors observed 40 residents and 30 internists in internal medicine department in an academic medical center while they searched PubMed and UpToDate. They noted the information source used for searching and the time needed to find an answer to the question. What they eventually found was that specialists and residents in internal medicine generally use less than 5 minutes to answer patient-related questions in daily care. Also, more questions are answered using UpToDate than PubMed on all major medical topics.

Analysis of queries sent to PubMed at the point of care: observation of search behaviour in a medical teaching hospital

Hoogendam A, Stalenhoef AF, Robbé PF, Overbeke AJ.

Department of Medicine, Division of General Internal Medicine, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.

The objectives of this study was to identify queries that are likely to retrieve relevant articles by relating PubMed search techniques and tools to the number of articles retrieved and the selection of articles for further reading. Authors again observed specialists and residents in internal medicine department. They conclude that queries sent to PubMed by physicians during daily medical care contain fewer than three terms. Queries using four to five terms, retrieving less than 161 article titles, are most likely to result in abstract viewing. PubMed search tools are used infrequently by our population and are less effective than the use of four or five terms.

Measuring medical student preference: a comparison of classroom versus online instruction for teaching PubMed

Schimming LM.

Gustave L. and Janet W. Levy Library, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, One Gustave L. Levy Place, New York, NY 10029-6574, USA.

The purpose of this study was to compare satisfaction of medical students learning PubMed entirely online with those attending traditional librarian-led sessions. Skills assessment scores and student feedback forms from 455 first year medical students were analyzed. Student satisfaction improved and PubMed but assessment scores did not change when instruction was offered online. Comments from the students who received online training suggest that the increased control and individual engagement with the web-based content led to their satisfaction with the online tutorial.

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Wi-Fi for better grades

wi-fi zone
Wi-Fi Alliance conducted a survey among 501 US college students from both large and small schools regarding Wi-Fi access. Findings are very interesting:

  • Nine out of 10 college students in the United States say Wi-Fi access is as essential to education as classrooms and computers.
  • Nearly three in five say they wouldn’t go to a college that doesn’t have free Wi-Fi.
  • 79 percent said that without Wi-Fi access, college would be a lot harder.
  • If forced to choose, nearly half of respondents (48 percent) would give up beer before giving up Wi-Fi.
  • Seventy-two percent would rather wear their school rival’s team colors for a day.
  • More than two in five (44 percent) used Wi-Fi to get a head start on an assignment before a class was finished.
  • Many students reported that the availability of Wi-Fi influences their choice of coffee shop (52 percent), bookstore (42 percent), and restaurant (33 percent).

I wonder about the situation in hospitals and use of Wi-Fi among health workers. With handheld devices, like iPhone, which can provide rich Internet experience without the need to carry a laptop, one could really benefit from Wi-Fi access in hospitals. I sure would be very glad to have it at my work place.

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Top three free iPhone health apps

More and more health iPhone applications are available each day in the App Store. Most of them are for sale, but there are some which you can download for free. Here is my current top three of free health apps.

1. Epocrates Rx

Includes the drug guide, formulary information and drug interaction checker. Also offers continual free updates and medical news.

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2. Eponyms (for students)

Offers a list of 1,600 common and obscure medical eponyms (e.g., Rovsing’s sign, Virchow’s node) with descriptions.

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3. OBWheel

A simple pregnancy calculator to determine the estimated delivery date and gestational age.

OBWheelOBWheel

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Digg-like open peer-review

Medicine 2.0™ is an international conference on Web 2.0 applications in health and medicine, organized and co-sponsored by the Journal of Medical Internet Research, the International Medical Informatics Association, the Centre for Global eHealth Innovation, CHIRAD, and a number of other sponsoring organizations.

This conference, to be held in Toronto from 4th to 5th September 2008, is a successor of a highly successful “Mednet 2006: 11th World Congress on Internet in Medicine” Congress. It will be smaller and oriented only on Web 2.0 in medicine. However, these are not the only differences, because the organizing committee decided to completely change the peer review selection process of the submitted papers.

Consistent with the Web 2.0 theme of the conference, we are experimenting with a new “Digg”-like open peer-review mechanism, allowing any user to vote for submitted abstracts using a simple thumbs-up/thumbs-down rating system, with the additional ability for anyone to sign up as a peer-reviewer for a submitted abstract.

Go ahead and vote for your favorite papers.

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