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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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Growing Number of Scientific Papers About Blogs

Number of articles about blogs published in journals indexed in Medline is constantly growing. The first article was published back in 2003, but in 2008 was a substantial step forward. Are blogs becoming a hot topic among medical researchers? Take a look at the chart >

chart blog articles

These 46 articles were written by 85 authors from 20 different countries and published in 41 journals. Eighteen articles come from US and the rest are scattered all over the world.

chart world

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PubSearch for Pubs

In my recent post about the possible use of iPhone by medical doctors, I mentioned PubSearch. PubSearch is an application which allows you to search for scientific articles in the PubMed database on your iPhone. It seams that this was not obvious to some people, or it actually was. Hence this funny review from the UK iTunes store.

Pubsearch

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Why is iPhone perfect for doctors

I purchased my iPhone about six months ago and it has in many ways changed my life for the better. This is especially true regarding my work as a medical doctor. I believe that iPhone is a perfect gadget and that it can improve any physician’s performance. That is way I decided to present some of many useful ways you can utilize iPhone in your practice.

Access your Electronic Medical Record

Life Record is a company which produces Life Record Electronic Medical Record (EMR) software. What is interesting about it is that you can access your records form an iPhone. You can also make updates and even write prescriptions.

View medical images

To view your radiology images remotely you can use the Mobile MIM iPhone Application. This application provides multi-planar reconstruction of data sets from modalities including CT, PET, MRI and SPECT, as well as multi-modality image fusion. Using the multi-touch interface, users can change image sets and planes; adjust zoom, fusion blending, and window/level.

Calculate, compute, add, subtract, multiply, divide

Medical Calculator gives quick access to calculations that are too hard to memorize or perform in your head. There are around 50 clinical calculations that you can do with it right now, and more are coming. To not get lost, favorite those you use often.

Medical calculator

Access drug information

Epocrates Rx software for iPhone puts continually updated peer-reviewed drug information at your fingertips. This can improve patient care and safety, save time, reduce administrative burden and enable confident clinical decisions.

Take notes

There are many powerful note taking apps for iPhone out there. But let me just present the two most interesting, Evernote and Jott.

Evernote allows you to take text, snapshot, saved photo and voice notes. When you take for example a voice note, you can add a title to it, some description and tags. The interesting thing happens after you have taken your notes. They synchronize with your online account and what this means is that you can access them from anywhere. From your computer using a desktop application or from any other computer in the World with an Internet connection via the web interface. Everything is always synchronized across all of your devices. One cool thing that Evernote can do is transcribe images, meaning that it is capable to find text inside an image and make it searchable. It doesn’t yet transcribe your voice notes to text, but I believe this feature will be coming in the near future.

There are some advices on how to use Evernote on The Efficient MD blog, but I am sure you can think of many more ways to utilize this app. For example you could take snapshots of your patient’s injuries in the ER or record interviews with your patients.

Well, this other application, Jott is capable of doing what Evernote still can’t. It can capture your to-dos and transcribe your voice into text and place the resulting notes in your lists.

If you like Evernote, but desperately need for your voice notes to be transcribed to text, don’t worry. There is this great hack from Lifehacker that can help you.

Stay on top of your field

As a modern evidence based medicine physician you have to read and follow new developments in your field. Often you find interesting articles on the Internet, but don’t have time to read them. My advice is to save them for latter and read them on your iPhone during your breaks, when you are on call and have some free time or while waiting in some line. Perfect little app that can help you do just that is Instapaper and it is one of my favorite iPhone app ever. When you find something on your computer that you want to read later, simply click Read latter bookmark. Then when you have time, just open Instapaper app on your iPhone and read those articles. You would think that the iPhone’s screen is too small to read, but you would be wrong. It’s high resolution screen and zoom capabilities make reading enjoyable.

Of course you can read whole books on the iPhone too. Use Stanza to transfer and read all your important medical e-books.

Apart from reading, you can do a little bit of watching and listening, to thousands of podcasts in the medicine category. A podcast is a series of audio or video digital-media files which is distributed over the Internet and can be transfered to your iPhone. Listen and watch podcast from The Lancet, The New England Journal of Medicine and many others while you, let say, travel to work.
Podcast directory

Enhance your scientific research

You can use your iPhone to find scientific literature. Download PubSearch and search among the millions of research papers indexed in PubMed. This app has a simple user interface with fast access to the PubMed database, and it lets you concentrate on finding the research articles you need without getting in your way. PubSearch Plus is on the way and it will allow you to not only read abstracts, but full-text articles too.

Convert your iPhone into a wireless external disk, one with a lot of memory. This way you can carry around all the important documents for your undergoing scientific project. Come to a meeting with your colleagues and have all your excel and powerpoint files with you. Also bring some scientific articles in pdf, or other format, related to your research. All these files can easily be opened on your iPhone or access from any PC or Mac in the room. This is all done using AirSharing for iPhone.

Play games

You too deserve to have fun from time to time. There are numerous great games for iPhone and if nothing these can help you relax during an intensive and difficult shift. There have been some results published about video games and their ability to enhance surgeons’ performance. So before your next surgery why not try playing a game like Labyrinth to get you all warmed up and focused.

As you can see there are numerous useful ways you can utilize iPhone as a medical professional. This is not all of course, there are many other interesting apps coming up everyday and I did not mention the obvious things like reading email, surfing the web and contacting people via sms or IM services. I am looking forward to new medical apps that might appear in the future. Also, wouldn’t it be cool if somebody introduced some iPhone medical accessories. I would like to see some pulse oximeter sensors or ECG cables for iPhone. They could plugin-in to it’s 30-pin dock connector to input data which, I am sure, due to it’s processing power iPhone would not have a problem to analyze. Are we getting closer to those great all in one medical devices from Star Trek? 🙂
Star Trek

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Pubmed search on iPhone

PubSearch is an application for the iPhone designed to search Pubmed. It has a simple user interface and is pretty fast. Developers have already announced the enhanced version of this app, called PubSearchPlus which will offer more features.

PubSearchPubSearchPubSearchPubSearch

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