Sunday, March 1, 2009

Overwhelmed by Medical Education?

Because of the wealth of medical information that is currently available on the Internet, I often wonder whether physicians, nurses, and pharmacists are overwhelmed by educational content. Some content may be inaccurate, outdated or biased, but the content is there. Is there enough? Or too much? We all know that certain disease states attract a ton of attention (e.g., diabetes, breast cancer, heart failure, etc.)

What about the less common conditions? Aplastic anemia? Swallow syncope? More and more healthcare professionals are using Internet search engines to find the answers to their clinical questions, but are the sources of information accurate and reliable? Unfortunately, most of the time the answer is no.

At the same time, clinicans are so busy that they hardly have any time to sit down and receive any formal education. So what's the best way to learn and to stay up-to-date on current topics? Medical technology is advancing so quickly that unless you're continually updated with new information, you'll quickly fall behind and continue old practice patterns.


  1. Welcome to one of the top debates among medical twitter users, on one hand we want to increase the number of physicians who use Web2.0 and on the other there is too much available. You might want to look at I have no commercial interest in the site, I just think its an interesting solution.

    I write about medical education technology here.

  2. Hello Joseph

    All the advertising on your blog makes it quite distracting for me to read... sorry!

    What evidence do you have that more and more healthcare professionals are using internet search engines, and that the information they are finding is inaccurate? That surprises me.

    Could you tell us more about your experience with aplastic anaemia and swallow syncope? How did you go about getting information and what went wrong.

    Deirdre has suggested webicina as a solution but I don't think it would address the kind of issues you are raising.

    Would be great to continue the conversation.


  3. Thanks for the interesting links to Deirde and the comments by Anne Marie. To continue this discussion, there have been several abstracts presented at meetings like the Alliance for CME about physicians and their use of the Internet. Here's an older study that talks about this issue:

  4. Twitter can be indeed too much time consuming. I follow just a few number of people which post relevant content I am interested in, such as you @Bonnycastle.
    My current strategy is a few of every tool we have: istitutional blogs, personal blogs and journal RSS.
    If you can find a bunch of blogs of people with the same medical interests, it is hard to miss important news I think.

  5. Alberto, you're absolutely right. Thanks to RSS feeds, it's quite easy to stay updated with new information.