As physicians and providers, we know you are always in a time crunch, and keeping up is tough. By 2020, medical knowledge will be doubling every 73 days. By comparison, the estimated doubling of knowledge was 50 years in 1950; 7 years in 1980 and 3.5 years in 2010, according to Transactions of the American Clinical and Climatological Association.
- This rapid evolution may prove to be difficult for physicians, who have to find time in their busy schedules for continuing education. The key is to find easy-to-digest, credible content. The U.S. National Library of Medicine states there were nearly 870,000 medical articles published in 2016. However, a Medscape eJournal notes fewer than 15% of articles published on a specific topic are considered pertinent to clinical practice.
In addition to the overflow of content, traditional methods like scouring through medical articles and journals, attending conferences, CME’s (live, home study or e-learning) and meeting with pharmaceutical reps are time consuming.
We understand the stressors you feel on a daily basis. Here are some technology tools to help enhance your professional development, regain your time and become a stronger practitioner and leader.
Try the following tips to make technology work for you.
Emails Alerts and RSS Feeds
Condense the amount of information you’re receiving and set up email alerts for only sources and topics you select. This gives you exactly the information you’re looking for, without any background noise.
- There are a number of sources in clinical, governmental or commercial circles you can subscribe to for email alerts or RSS feeds. Some of these can track multiple news sources automatically, including Medscape, Medpage, MD linx, Health Affairs, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration.
- An RSS (Rich Site Summary) feed is a format for delivering regularly changing web content. It gathers and sends you headlines from the sources you select.
- You can also set up an RSS feed for specific topics, which can keep you updated with new, relevant literature in various databases such as Google Scholar, PubMed, ScienceDirect or a news aggregator tool such as Feedly. Many sources and databases have directions to help you set up alerts or RSS feeds.
Mobile Devices and Apps
Mobile devices have drastically changed the way people access information, and have put learning opportunities in the palm of our hand. According to Doximity, an online social network for clinicians with over 800,000 members, more than two-thirds of physicians access medical news on their mobile device (vs. laptop). The average user reads two to three articles weekly from various sources, including journals. Literally thousands of smart phone apps for medical professionals are being developed every year. With this in mind you can use your smart phone to help you stay up-to-date in your areas of practice and interest.
- Download the VITAL WorkLife Mobile App. You’ll save time and be able to access a wealth of well being information and articles, take well being assessments and set and track goals — all in once place. Our app includes valuable content in areas of professional, physical, financial/legal, spiritual, emotional and relational well being.
- Use other popular apps* for medical professionals, including:
- MedPage Today
- Read by QxMD
*NOTE: Some of these apps are subscription based.
Use technology to your advantage. With just a little bit of upfront work, you can set up the right tools to help you grow as a medical professional and assist you in becoming a stronger leader in your organization.
We Can Help
Densen P. Challenges and Opportunities Facing Medical Education. Transactions of the American Clinical and Climatological Association. 2011;122:48-58.
U.S. National Library of Medicine. https://www.nlm.nih.gov/bsd/stats/cit_added.html. Published November 30, 2016.
Blair K. Staying Up To Date: Quick Resources and Email Alerts. Topics in Advanced Practice Nursing eJournal. https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/707581. Published September 2009.
Parker A. How to Stay Up To Date on Research in Your Field. The Almost Doctor's Channel. http://almost.thedoctorschannel.com/stay-date-research-field/. Published February 25, 2016.
Singh N. How do doctors keep up with the latest literature? Doximity Blog. https://blog.doximity.com/articles/how-do-doctors-keep-up-with-the-latest-literature.html. Published May 5, 2016.