Living in a Digital World
(Originally appeared as the March 16 entry in Dr. Brian Postl's official blog: Postl Notes.)
Back when I was in medical school, finding information meant searching Index Medicus volumes, browsing journals, photocopying articles, and reviewing handwritten lecture notes. Much has changed over the last 35 years!
Today, we are surrounded by a sea of information. Last year alone, nearly 750,000 publications were added to PubMed, the online version of Index Medicus. Our challenge now is to efficiently weed out poor quality information and find evidence-based information to aid us in research and patient care.
At the same time, technology is advancing at a record pace. We have digital information available at the bedside on mobile devices, and e-health records are changing the way we deliver health care.
Our learners were the first to grow up with information technology. Every student in the Class of 2015 has a laptop; most have smart phones or tablets. Yet, we cannot assume that each has the skill to assess, ask, acquire, appraise and apply the best medical evidence.
Students look to residents and faculty for guidance, and as mentors, in support of an evidence-based approach to clinical care, education, and research.
Residents and medical faculty have identified a lag in acquiring the knowledge and skill in information science that enables them to serve as role models.
To address this changing landscape, we are focusing as a faculty on developing tools, and delivering training in information literacy, informatics, and evidence-based medicine.
Clearly, knowledge and skill in information science is as important as clinical and basic science expertise to be a competent physician and lifelong learner.
New collaborations between UGME, PGME, CPD, and the Health Sciences Libraries will help us meet these goals. Three initiatives currently underway, led Dr. Judy Littleford and librarian Tania Gottschalk, include: Toolkit construction, an Online Learning Commons and curricular innovations for UGME, PGME and CPD.
Discipline specific toolkits are being designed as portals to key online resources for the medical specialties. In the next month, we will be asking Department Heads to encourage two or three interested faculty members to work together with librarians to build them. Prototype toolkits can be viewed at:
Online Learning Commons
The Online Learning Commons will host a repository of screencasts, streaming videos, and tutorials sequenced to allow self-paced progression in information science competence, with tools for practice and self-evaluation. It will be designed specifically for faculty and residents who teach.
UGME, PGME & CPD Curricular Innovation
A variety of information science initiatives are happening in order to bring content to PGME academic half-days, the CPD seminar series, and existing and future UGME curricula.
What do you think of the role of Information Science in Medicine?