MI Recommendations is written and maintained by the medical editor. The mostly Medical Informatics (MI) selections are personal ("my") recommendations and do not reflect the opinions of Medical Computing Today or its staff. Please e-mail me with comments or suggestions. ---M.L.
As of October 30, 2001
Other MI Recommendations:
- During these difficult times, efforts such as Remote Medicine take on special meaning. Through both direct medical assistance and formal field training of Western physicians, this publically-supported tax-exempt 501(c)(3) non-profit organization aims to impact on the long term health of improvished populations. James Li, M.D., a member of their Board of Directors, is well known in emergency medicine circles. Their beautifully designed site describes the fledging organization's philosophy and goals, and offers some nice freebie medical reference material. (last visited 10/5/01)
- Nature is trying to increase readership for its fine Webdebates: Future e-access to the primary literature. Its introduction explains, "The topic of this Nature forum ÷ the impact of the Web on the publishing of the results of original research ÷ has, since the emergence of the Internet, filled volumes in the reports of conference proceedings and reams of individual articles. The main aim of this forum is to bring some of the substance of this Brownian motion of Internet issues to a broader grassroots audience and debate the implications for the future dissemination of scientific information. We have invited leading representatives of the main groups of stakeholders and observers from the mainstream Internet industries to express their views in 1,000-word articles..." On line since April, there are different perspectives offered from (among others) public librarians, not-for-profit and for-profit science publishers, technology developers, and scientists. Its feedback section was quite active in the beginning, but is still a good read. This resource is for those looking to broaden one's perspective on this very important topic, or to locate individuals of like minds within an international forum. (last visited 9/20/01)
- A heartfelt thank you using a Web page full of photographs from around the world. The URL is being passed around the Internet via email this week. Take a look if you haven't seen it yet. The gift is from ArsTechnica, latin for Art of Technology, a very nice computing site for PCs enthusiasts.(last visited 9/15/01)
- An interesting Harris poll on physician use of handhelds was just released. Conducted this winter on a national sample of 834 practicing physicians by the well-known Harris Interactive, the poll found 26% used Palm or Pocket PC handhelds, nearly double from just two years ago. The poll results tease the data into age groups (increased among younger users) and practice types (increased among hospital-based or large practices). About two-thirds of handheld users find it an integral part of their practice, a stable percentage from 1999. Table 3 shares changes in computer use for practice managment.
I wish the poll showed the percentage of users among new physicians, not just those under 45, and among medical students and residents -- or, conversely, the ages of recent handheld converts. Of the group polled, only 11% anticipate using a handheld in practice within the next 18 months, which may reflect a reluctance among practicing physicians to adapt to new technology -- or, the arguably accurate perception that the limitations of handheld technology still exceeds their advantages for the near future.
The write-up concludes, "Given these expectations and the current rate of growth in the use of handhelds over the last two years, one can reasonably estimate that about half of all doctors will be using handheld devices by 2004 or 2005. However, this rate of growth could be greatly increased if payers, hospitals and/or group practices mandated their use." Otherwise, the growth of handhelds among physicians may well be limited to young trainees entering the profession, rather than older practitioners picking up Palm styluses for the first time. (last visited 8/22/01)
- Although news of financial difficulties at Medscape would seem to preclude their developing new products, the site now sports another electronic journal, MedTech. The editorial notes, "...Today, the concept of technology in medicine applies to virtually everything from surgical instruments to prosthetic devices to sophisticated software that assists physicians in making clinical decisions. It includes in its purview the art, the tools, and the science of medicine, and these very elements make the practice of medicine so unique." Articles are non-technical, for a general audience, and written by business professionals in the field or Medscape staff. (last visited 8/16/01)
- Still more on patient education, though physicians may find this useful as well: National Library of Medicine's Health News by Date is a meticulously updated page linking to all the popular media news, primarily from the Associated Press and Reuter's Health, among others, daily for the past 30 days. The page also links to Health News by Topic, which archives news items over the past 30 days. At the end of each news article are links for further information, including related MEDLINEplus page with patient education links. Since most newspaper and television news originate from these articles, this is a good first stop for more information on media health news. (last visited 7/25/01)
- More on patient education and the Web: see if you agree with Forbes Magazine's Best of Health Web site reviews. I don't -- I think it's too naive. But I like their list of Health Message Boards for patients. (last visited 6/17/01)
- For anyone interested in patient education on the Web, the Evaluation of English and Spanish Health Information on the Internet describes an elaborate, thoughtful RAND study commissioned by the California HealthCare Foundation (CHCF). Panels of clinical experts and representatives from patient advocacy organizations first defined critera for "basic questions" and "standardized concepts" important for Web users to encounter four medical conditions -- breast cancer, childhood asthma, depression, and obesity. Then, to gather online content, they used general search engines and also specifically examined 18 English-language and seven Spanish-language general health and condition-specific Web sites, selected for their popularity and including commercial, government, and nonprofit educational organizations. Independent physician experts blinded to the sites' identity used a rating form to assess whether each contained the necessary information. (These physicians' results are published in the May 23, 2001 issue of Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA)).
The study's Executive Summary describes three key findings: (1) search engines are not efficient tools for locating particular health information, (2) the information is generally accurate but incomplete, and (3) most Web-based consumer information is at a higher reading level than the average consumer can understand (at or above the 9th grade reading level). Sam Karp, CHCF's CIO, said in an interview, "...the thing that was most shocking was how deficient the Spanish-language sites are." The study concludes with common sense recommendations for consumers, consumer advocacy groups, health care providers, site providers, and policymakers.
The study is being very well publicized. In addition to the HTML pages on the RAND site, the study is available in PDF format; this link also offers the press release and an online video of the full CHCF briefing to the National Press Club. In addition, CHCF and the industry and trade organization eHealth Initiative are co-hosting an industry briefing on the report at eHealthcare World in San Diego. RAND (a contraction of the term research and development), a nonprofit institution that aims to improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis since 1946, prides itself on being the first national think tank. The CHCF was created in May 1996 as part of the conversion of the non-profit Blue Cross of California to the for-profit WellPoint Health Networks. (last visited 5/23/01)
- New Developments, Ongoing Debates is a recent HMS Beagle article on National Institutes of Health (NIH) Guidelines for Research Involving Human Pluripotent Stem Cells. The public release of these Guidelines on August 25, 2000 coincided with the lifting of the NIH moratorium on providing grants for stem cell research derived from human embryos and fetal tissue. The moratorium had been in effect since January 1999.
Everyone supports further research using adult stem cells, which sidesteps ethical issues raised by using embryos or fetal tissue derived human pluripotent stem cells. But most scientists predict adult stem cells are already too differentiated to have all the disease-curing potential of human pluripotent stem cells, especially with respect to those organs that develop (differentiate) earliest, such as the brain. Both areas of stem cell research are in their infancy, but before the moratorium was lifted, human pluripotent stem cell research could only be privately funded, which strongly influenced the type and number of research projects. The article notes the largely (not exclusively) partisan nature on this issue; some in Congress favor fewer restrictions than those set by the NIH Guidelines whereas others hope to ban human pluripotent stem cell research altogether.
The global nature of Web publications allows for easy comparisons between nations on issues such as this. "Great Britain has already approved the use of [human pluripotent stem cells] and is considering what is not permitted by the NIH Guidelines, i.e., allowing researchers to create embryos for the purposes of establishing pluripotent stem cell lines. Are the English less moral or ethical than we? Are they less sensitive of the sanctity of life? I think not. They have chosen to use sources for stem cells that are sanctioned by law and medical practice in order to save lives and reduce suffering of the living," commented Nobel Laurate Paul Berg.
HMS Beagle is an electronic 'zine for biological scientists published by BioMedNet. Free registration is required to access content. (last visited 9/23/00)
- Definitely check out FreeMedicalJournals.com, a relatively new feature from AMEDEO -- The Medical Literature Guide that is "...(d)edicated to the promotion of free access to medical journals over the Internet." Journals that offer free full text articles are linked; those that only offer abstracts to non-subscribers such as The New England Journal of Medicine are not. Like the rest of AMEDEO, the resource is impeccibly maintained with an intuitive interface and international flavor. It includes extras such as Impact Factor -- how many times a journal reference is downloaded, essentially the most popular free online journals. Annals of Internal Medicine virtually always leads the list. Supported by multiple drug companies, AMEDEO is freely available online and also offers a great email service. (last visited 9/11/00)
- For those like me who didn't know until now: SAM Online is freely available for a limited time as a WebMD promotional gimmick. Personally, I subscribe to SAM's online competitor Harrison's Online, but I favorably reviewed both a few years ago. To freely access SAM, click on the above WebMD link (as a non-member physician) and use the left navigation panel to access Medical Library. Scientific American Medicine is the first resource under that section, and the main window has a description and direct link. WebMD continues to do everything it can to lure us physicians into their camp! (last visited 6/17/00)
- Once again, British Medical Journal puts us Yankees to shame -- this time with the "next phase in the evolution of biomedical publishing," NetPrints Clinical Medicine and Health Research (ClinMed NetPrints). An editorial on NetPrints in BMJ's December 11, 1999 issue described it as "an electronic archive where authors can post their research into clinical medicine and health before, during, or after peer review by other agencies. Resulting from a collaboration between the BMJ Publishing Group and Stanford University Libraries, it will allow researchers to share their findings in full, for free, and as soon as their studies are complete." Not every medical journal will accept submissions from research that has been an "electronic preprint" (NetPrint's term), which is sure to inhibit top researchers and may partly explain the relative paucity of articles after almost six months on line. But the potential for NetPrints is obvious, and the site is well configured for navigation and interactivity. There are ample warnings that the content is not peer-reviewed, and an e-mail alert for those who wish to be notified of new preprints. (last visited 5/7/00)
- Bartleby.com is a great reference site for you and your school age children. As the site's welcome page explains, "The concluding line of Herman Melville's classic American short story Bartleby, the Scrivener reads:
Ah Bartleby, Ah Humanity!
And so, Bartleby.com -- after the humble character of its namesake scrivener, or copyist -- publishes the classics of literature, nonfiction, and reference free of charge for the home, classroom, and desktop of each and every Internet participant."
The site provides free, searchable access to the Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition (2000); The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Third Edition; Roget's II: The New Thesaurus, Third Edition; Simpson's Contemporary Quotations; and The American Heritager Book of English Usage, Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, Strunk's Elements of Style; six poetry anthologies, including the Oxford Book of English Verse; Emily Post's Etiquette; the Cambridge History of English and American Literature: An Encyclopedia in Eighteen Volumes; Frazer's the Golden Bough (1922) and Thomas Bulfinch's Mythology (1913). A very nice site to bookmark, although the Columbia Encyclopedia isn't nearly as thorough as the also freely available Encyclopedia Britannica.
We hope you'll bypass Bartleby's online bookstore, which is only a link to Amazon.com, and instead purchase books from our own Kickback Korner, which includes links and search engines to several online bookstores (including Amazon.com). (last visited 5/1/00)
- Napster is a freely downloadable communications software program that allows individuals to chat about and swap digitalized music -- MP3 files -- with other people who are also using Napster at the time. Software like Napster is designed for the "many-to-many" architecture that is the foundation of the Web. Several commentators have likened its grass-roots origins and huge success to the first Web "killer app," the Mosaic browser.
For anyone who has gone crazy trying to locate MP3 files on line, Napster is an ingenious system. For musicians and companies who make money off of CDs and tapes, well...MP3 and freewheeling Napster are driving them crazy. How do you protect a copyright, and continue to make money off a product, that is freely available as a computer file and can now travel as freely and easily as e-mail throughout the Web? Late last year, The Recording Industry Association of America decided to try, by filing suit against Napster for trafficking in piracy. For a balanced view of the controversy and its broader context, start with Napster Backlash, then visit the rest of Salon's articles at the bottom of the screen.
Why is this important to physicians? Aside from Napster's far reaching effects on all of telecommunications, there is a very practical issue: if a software program allows music lovers to freely gather in a virtual community to share information directly with one another, why can't we develop a similar software program for physicians? (Anyone with the programming skill to create such a medical version of Napster, let me know!) (last visited 4/20/00)
- The new issue of Abstracts of Cochrane Review is on line. Those unfamilar with the Cochrane Library can check out fee-based databases in Netview's Evidence-based Medicine. Note that the Abstracts are available for free. (last visited 4/15/00)
- The National Library of Medicine just opened Clinical Trials a consumer-friendly site that "links patients to medical research." According to a February 28 Nandotimes news article, "(t)he free database so far contains 4,000 studies at 47,000 sites nationwide, mostly government- or university-sponsored ones. But Congress mandated that it be comprehensive, so more studies, particularly drug-company trials, will likely be added in coming months." Until now, Medical Economic's CenterWatch was the most popular and trusted site for this purpose, listing 41,000 international industry and government clinical trials. (last visited 2/29/00)
- There's still plenty of time to visit and interact with INABIS 2000: The 6th Internet World Congress of Biomedical Sciences. Taking place exclusively in cyberspace from February 14-25, this biomedical research conference includes an extensive listing of invited symposia (groups of papers on a single topic), posters (single papers), discussions, and online sessions (chat rooms -- see site for times). Access limited to (free) registrants. Those who participate in discussion or online sessions will receive a CD-ROM on the proceedings gratis. Unfortunately, when I accessed the site it was very slow loading. Maybe you'll have better luck. Presented by Spain's Internet Association of Biomedical Sciences. (last visited 2/20/00)
- There are dozens of general Web search engines, each with different features, strengths and weaknesses. For most of us, selecting then mastering just one or two engines will result in the most efficient searching -- and Search Engine Watch is the resource to get you there. Devoted entirely to Web searching tips and information on general search engines (Alta Vista, Northern Light, Google, etc.), there is content for webmasters and computer experts, Web neophytes, and everyone in between. A well respected and maintained site by Danny Sullivan, an Internet consultant and journalist. (last visited 2/13/00)
- See what you think of Breast Cancer Risk Calculator from radiologist Steven Halls, M.D. The site also has information on mammography, and a sweet home page full of family members. I'd like to see an independent endorsement of this calculator, but on the surface it appears well-referenced, with a reasonable accounting of his methodology and the calculator's limitations in clinical practice.
(last visited 2/6/00)
- One way to keep up with the medical Web is to track how MedWebPlus updates its database, either daily or weekly, through its What's New feature. (last visited 1/30/00)
- Two interesting interactive cases in Medical Ethics, for you and your students: MCP Hahnemann University's MedEthEx Online and Medical College of Georgia's The Doctor's Dilemma (requires free registration). (last visited 1/24/00)
- As described last week, Simple Interactive Statistical Analysis (SISA) isn't a full statistical package, but it does allow us to do some relatively sophisticated statistical analysis directly on the Internet. "Click on one of the procedure names below, fill in the form, click the button, and the analysis will take place on the spot." Need more calculations? See StatPages.Net. Need more explanation? See A New View of Statistics by Will Hopkins. (last visited 1/16/00)
- If you've had enough of spam AND have had enough of figuring out where to complain, check out SpamCop. A free portion of this subscriber-based service automates the process of identifying and notifying the source of unsolicited mass mailings. SpamCop lets you create your own page to bookmark for easy retrieval. Then, next time you get spam, just copy-and-paste the offensive e-mail's full header (instructions for most e-mail programs included) and content into your bookmarked SpamCop's window and send! (last visited 12/31/99)
- Handheldmed.com is a relatively new site with clinical medicine handheld computing news, reviews, and informatics for physicians, students and housestaff, and other health care professionals. Separate sections address Palm OS and Windows CE hardware and software. Largely positive reviews by physicians and med students give a feel for the advantages and disadvantages, and sometimes include graphics of the software's interface and links to download. Check out Basics for articles on the differences among the various palmtops and handheld units, practical tips, and types of software available for physicians. Handheldmed.com is an organization of medical and IT professionals based in Oklahoma City. (last visited 12/13/99)
- A brand new site, PDAMD.com contains news, columns, reviews, and fledgling discussion forums. Not surprisingly, at the moment the site contains more Palm than WinCE resources. The news section is good if not wholly current and the product reviews are excellent, although like its articles some are reprints from other sources. Only one WinCE product is reviewed thus far. The best feature is Columns, full of basic information for physicians, though presently only for Palm users. The Product section is good as well, with largely commercial but some freeware available for download; if product listings in this section are selective, then PDAMD.com should share its criteria for inclusion. The site itself is well designed but written in annoying marketspeak. No information regarding PDAMD.com is available online. (last visited 12/13/99)
- Mobile Medical Computing Forum is a popular board is for users of PalmPilot, Windows CE, Newton, and Psion handhelds. The site also supports a chat room. (last visited 12/13/99)
- The Doctor Will See You Now (TDWSYN) is a new patient site from the same folks that bring us Cyberrounds. Content on both sites seems fine, at times excellent, and both interfaces are great. All things being equal, I would recommend these sites.
I hesitate because I don't respect one of their marketing ploys; Cyberrounds periodically seduces members with prizes to encourage them to email prefabricated messages about Cyberrounds to their colleagues. This is a popular promotional tactic from a Web site's perspective because it is cheap -- often free -- and it gets past most mail servers' spam detectors. But I don't agree that health professionals should be asked to promote a medical or health site for personal gain, and I'm not aware of any other respected medical site that asks its members to help self-promote in this manner. Last year I expressed my opinion in private correspondance to the site's executive editor, Harry Levy, M.D., and he wrote back fully supporting Cyberrounds' practices.
So to promote their new patient site, Cyberround members (all of whom should be health professionals) are being asked to "forward your specially coded email message...to family, friends and patients, fellow chat group members, anyone who cares about or needs quality health information. Every person who clicks on the coded URL and registers...will be credited to you....The two Cyberounders who register the most new TDWYSN members will each receive a pair of Motorola TalkAbout 101 2-way radios...(or) a gift certificate...In a few days, we'll put up a Leader Board on the Cyberounds home page so you can track your success." The specially coded email message, which members are encouraged to further personalize, is a single paragraph:
"Hi -- I wanted to let you know about http://TheDoctorWillSeeYouNow.com, a new health website with in-depth articles written by well-known medical professors and researchers.You can ask questions and will soon be able to participate in discussions with real experts. There's high-quality information on stress, nutrition, women's health, behavior and aging, as well as all major medical conditions. This is the way the Internet should be. I urge you to check it out."
I don't agree that this is the way the Internet should be, and inmmnf you register on the site please don't credit me. (last visited 11/22/99)
- The Alliance of Medical Internet Professionals, the brainchild of Kirstie Dyer, M.D., and Unix engineer Cole Thompson, M.A., is "a new Internet-based organization formed to connect Medical Internet Professionals world-wide, to improve the quality of healthcare to people around the globe, and to discover innovative methods for employing Internet technology in the practice of medicine." Inspired by Linux's "Open Source" computer community, AMIP "...aims to apply their example to the medical community by stimulating sharing of ideas and expertise to improve communication, collaboration, and cooperation among medical professionals to solve the complex problems facing medicine." Their first issue of the e-chronicle The Cybermed Catalyst, is on line, as is a brand new message board awaiting its first non-AMIP post. Scroll down the Resource page for the links to Open Sources resources and software. A different kind of medical organization, one that ends each page on the site with inspirational quotes from the likes of Immanuel Kant, Marianne Williamson, Henry Ford, and Capt. James T. Kirk. (last visited 11/15/99)
- It hit the news today, but those who follow Security Portal.com knew about the Bubbleboy Virus yesterday. (True, a Seinfeld episode favorite, but also an old TV-movie starring John Travolta.) SecurityPortal.com describes itself as, "...a web site and information services provider, dedicated to providing corporate security professionals with the information and resources needed to protect their networks. We provide technotes and opinion pieces from some of the best minds in IT security, summarize breaking security news and provide a jumping off point for Security Alerts, Products, Tools and other Resources." (last visited 11/10/99)
- Another new electronic medical journal, the Journal of Medical Internet Research is "the first international scientific peer-reviewed journal on all aspects of research, information and communication in the healthcare field using Internet and Intranet-related technologies." Presentation is straightforward and respectable, but it will be the quality of its content that will determine this site's future. Published by Germany's Symposion Publishing. (last visited 11/1/99)
- When the Encyclopedia Britannica opened its previously subscription-based online database to the Web early last week, there was such an onslaught of new visitors that the site repeatedly crashed. No surprise, since among encyclopedias, Britannica is unarguably the most authoritative and information-rich. Yet even they could no longer sustain a profit by selling their content -- either in print, or electronically. It's anyone's guess what Britannica's move to selling advertising on a free, content-laden Web site portends for the future of information dissemination. (last visited 10/26/99)
- University of Washington's GeneClinics provides a comprehensive clinical database on inherited disorders. This site showcases the best trend in electronic database publishing: unbiased sponsorship (funded by the NIH) with content authored by academicians and/or experts that undergoes both internal and external peer review, clearly dated and referenced with PubMed links, and easily and quickly accessible though an intuitive interface. (last visited 10/17/99)
- HONselect is Health On The Net (HON)'s new medical and health browser/search engine. Using MeSH hierarchy, HONselect includes four types of information content: Web sites (using HON's MedHunt); scientific articles (using PubMed -- with or without clinical search filters); healthcare news (using NewsPage), and multimedia (such as it is). (last visited 10/12/99)
- For the past four months NIH Director Harold Varmus, author of E-BIOMED: A Proposal for Electronic Publications in the Biomedical Sciences, has invited public feedback to his draft proposal describing a more efficient way to electronically disseminate the results of biomedical research. Hundreds of selected comments are posted as well, including editors' comments from the Annals of Internal Medicine and JAMA. Another version of the E-BIOMED proposal is accessible to (free) registrants of The Lancet by clicking on the "end of the printed journal" computer gif. This link provides easy access to The Lancet's response and NEJM's response, along with a handful of thoughtful postings under the article's discussion group. For a different perspective, see a June 8, 1999 New York Times article, NIH Plan for Journal on the Web Draws Fire.
E-BIOMED has evolved into PubMed Central, which still aims to establish free Web access to full-text primary reports on medicine and other life sciences by archiving, organizing, and distributing both journal peer-reviewed articles and screened (not formally peer-reviewed) content. Dr. Varmus summarizes the differences between the original proposal and PubMed Central as follows: "First, the scope of the content has expanded to include the life sciences in general, including plant and agricultural research as well as biology and medicine. Second, the screening of non-peer-reviewed reports will be the responsibility of groups that have no direct relationship to the NIH." Another big change is that PubMed Central will no longer strive to distribute research in a more timely fashion than print journals do. It will be introduced to the public separate from the PubMed biomedical literature database, in January 2000.
E-BIOMED was, and PubMed Central continues to be, a controversial project among medical publishers; for example, see a chilly BMJ news article heralding the new repository. But the public voices its opinion in response to an eBMJ's straw poll asking whether medical journals should participate in PubMed Central. No surprise that, as of mid-September, the poll is running 20 to 1 in favor of participation, and that replies to NEJM editorial generally favor the project as well.
Hot off the presses: on October 7, Associated Press reports that Dr. Harold Varmus, director of the National Institutes of Health, is leaving to become head of the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York at the end of the year. (last visited 10/4/99)
- Sensation: Young British Artists from The Saatchi Collection is Brooklyn Museum of Art's controversial showing that opening this week. British rock icon David Bowie, an art student by training, presents the exhibition as a link off his home page, along with audio commentary (Bowie's voice, but the commentary comes from the Museum). Judge for yourself if artist Chris Ofili's The Holy Virgin Mary succeeds in expressing the artist's vision or is just plain offensive. (last visited 10/4/99)
- Praxis Press' PraxisMD is a relatively new clinical medicine site for physicians and other healthcare practitioners. The strong layout and quality graphics are by the same group that created BioMedNet. Current Practice has three content sections: CP Medicine, which is divided into HyperReference (a medical textbook reference) and short article updates collectively referred to as Field Reports; CP PubMed for Medline references; and CP Drugs (GenRX). A Links section is planned. (last visited 10/2/99)
- Those who enjoy using the Web to search or browse current journals will appreciate Telemedicine Information Exchange's Citations from current Telemedicine Journals. It allows for easy scan and access to abstracts from the latest issues of IEEE Transactions on Information Technology in Biomedicine, Journal of Telemedicine and Telecare, Telemedicine Journal, Telemedicine Today, Telehealth Magazine, and Telemedlaw, and also links to past issues' citations. For a full search of the site's over 6000 citations, the Telemedicine Bibliographic Database includes hundreds of major and international medical and technology journals. Users can also select a journal, for example the Annals of Internal Medicine, and access citations on telemedicine articles from the past five years, most with abstracts. Telemedicine Information Exchange (TIE) is a well-known, content-rich site dedicated to practical aspects of telemedicine. TIE is maintained by the Telemedicine Research Center with major support from the National Library of Medicine. (last visited 9/26/99)
- WebMedLit has a much improved interface, and now allows for creation of a personalized page using one of ten topics. Silverplatter's weekly reference of nearly two dozen online medical journals includes NEJM, JAMA, and BMJ. (last visited 9/13/99)
- Utterly off-topic (but not really) is
Ritz FilmBill. Like similiar Web sites from movie houses throughout the country, Philadelphia's The Ritz site is full of interesting resources, such as Film Synopses, which looks at less commercial films in current release, and Film Archives, which does a wonderful job of describing potential video rentals and Sundance/IFC/Bravo cable TV selections. Nothing replaces Internet Movie Database, but Ritz FilmBill is a great place to waste tim...er, I mean, find an interesting film or learn more about old favorites. (last visited 9/13/99)
- NewsRounds is a free medical news site for physicians who wish to keep up with popular health and medical information. Clinical news comes primarily from Reuters' medical journal press releases (with all its biases and limitations). Sources for medical business news are more varied and include major U.S. newspapers and magazines. Site features include a search engine, and a home page that can be personalized to retrieve selected specialties and topics -- such as FDA Approvals, Clinical Trials, and Drug Warnings, among the more typical medical news fare. Medical Informatics is not included, but there is a Computers and Practice Management topic. The site is well designed, navigation is streamlined and intuitive, and the free registration only requires one's name, Zip code, and a partial DEA number. Other thoughtful touchs: links are provided to online abstracts and editorials such as the New England Journal of Medicine, and there's a section on local medical news (based on Zip code). Updated daily, and all articles are archived for 7 days except for local news items which are maintained for months. The site is managed by Dan Underberger, MD, Chief Medical Officer of ClinNet Solutions. (last visited 8/28/99)
- It will be interesting to see how Loveline's popular Drew Pinsky, MD, develops drdew.com. Dr. Pinsky is an addiction medicine specialist, though it's not clear to what extent this site will concentrate on answering young people's sexual and emotional questions, as does his radio and TV show. The Web can certainly benefit from his reasoned, practical (if sometimes overgeneralized) advice, as evident in his four page Chat Transcript. Offering registrants a free trip to Hollywood is OK, although some may wince at the "...and meet the Doctor himself." For a consultation, perhaps? Let's hope the Doctor himself doesn't go totally cyberHollywood. (last visited 7/30/99)
- UTHSCSA Society of General Internal Medicine's Medical SmartSearch selects several online evidence-based medicine databases to search by natural query: Medline, AHCPR's National Guideline Clearinghouse, UK's DARE (part of the Cochrane Library), British Medical Journal, NEJM, Journal of Pediatrics, and Circulation. The site is rich with extra features. For example, subscribers to the latter three journals can enter login information to access articles directly. A dialog window offers the opportunity to focus one's search, and ReutersHealth News can be read while awaiting search results. Other databases are added or avoided depending on the query. SmartSearch even suggests alternate searches when the pickings are slim. This is a good site to bookmark. (last visited 7/7/99)
- Hands Off The Internet (HOTI) is a new coalition of users that, "...supports public policies that ensure the broadest possible range of choices for consumers and businesses using the Internet. That includes: Support for an unregulated approach to Internet access in which consumers, not government, choose the method that is best for them; Support for The Internet Tax Freedom Act, a three-year moratorium on discriminatory e-commerce taxes that Congress passed last year with overwhelming bipartisan approval and which President Clinton signed into law; and Opposition to government attempts at regulating Net content." HOTI members include AT&T and the Texas Consumers Association. (last visited 7/7/99)
- Scroll down the defunct CAT SCAN Contest home page before deciding whether you'd enjoy visiting its many pages of submissions. Not exactly what the doctor ordered. (last visited 6/22/99)
- Gold Standard Multimedia's Journal of Information Technology in Medicine (JIT-M) presents a demo mock-up issue on line. JIT-M looks to join a growing group of sites electronically publishing peer-reviewed articles (including Medical Computing Today; see our Information for Authors). (last visited 6/15/99)
- Those interested in keeping up with clinical literature will appreciate two free resources that search and deliver new Medline abstracts on selected topics to your email box each week: National Center for Emergency Medicine Informatics' Journal Abstracts Delivered Electronically (JADE), and AMEDEO's The Medical Literature Guide from the medical journal cataloging group. They differ in the subjects available -- JADE will search any (not just emergency medicine) MESH topic, whereas AMEDEO has a limited but growing list of topics -- and in the depth of retrieval: JADE searches all journals, whereas AMEDEO selects several dozen pertinent journals, depending on the topic. Both use PubMed (though, sadly, not its most current Pre-Medline database), and both include a Personal Page where search links can be archived on line. In addition, JADE now offers weekly emails of abstracts from a number of emergency medicine journals (such as the Annals, AEM, and AJEM) and general medical journals (such as NEJM, JAMA, and BMJ). (last visited 6/15/99)
- UCLA Department of Psychiatry webcasts offers free educational programs from the Neuropsychiatric Institute. Information on configuring one's computer is provided, as well as a schedule of Grand Rounds and seminars for this academic year, and past years as well. The site recommends RealPlayer, but even with Media Player the quality of audio is excellent, and the video is as good as present technology allows. (last visited 6/2/99)
- Best Book Buys compares not only price but also tax and shipping charges of nearly all online bookstores. Useful for all books, including medical textbooks and CD-ROMs. (last visited 6/2/99)
- Fast Search and Transfer (FAST) is a relatively new search engine developed in Oslo, Norway. Word is that it has just partnered with Web portal wannabe Dell Computers, and that by the end of the summer FAST will search through 200 million Web pages. The engine is quick, the interface is not filled with banners, and hit results are appropriate, although repeat hits are common. (last visited 5/10/99)
- Many believe that the future of Internet technology (among other things) depends on corporate-government-university partnerships. Two sites that prove the point: the federal government's Next Generation Internet (NGI) and the universities-affiliated Internet 2. Both sites post non-technical information on line; for even more on government's information technology initiatives, visit the National Coordination Office for Computing, Information, and Communication. There's little here specific to healthcare or medical informatics other than the NIH applications on NGI telemedicine projects, but one can imagine the possibilities. (last visited 5/3/99)
- ACLS-Net actualizes the potential of electronic medical education. The site is fun to use, but that's not the reason to visit and recommend it to colleagues; both its algorithms and case simulations combine technology and solid educational techniques to enhance memorization and understanding. Created by Del Prewette, a medical student certified as an ACLS and PALS instructor, ACLS-Net deserved its University of South Carolina School of Medicine's 1999 Independent Learning Award. (last visited 4/27/99)
- If you enjoy Web eye candy, check out the visually overbearing home page of The Center for Pediatric Emergency Medicine (CPEM). Associated with New York University and Bellevue's emergency department, CPEM's respected educational resources on basic life support can be freely downloaded. (last visited 4/27/99)
- The home page of The Informatics Review serves as an annotated table of contents to each biweekly online issue. The best feature is Current Reviews, a journal watch for medical computing; scroll down the page for links to past reviews. Also, see the home page's left column for a list of medical informatics meetings (announcements), journals, books, and fellowship training programs. Dean Sittig, Ph.D, the site's creator and editor, works at WebMD. (last visited 4/13/99)
- Duke University's Medical Informatics Home Pages from around the world links to some of the best MI resources on the Web. Their Health Informatics Standards is a perennial Web favorite for both content and site design. (last visited 4/13/99)
- Jesse Berst, in his recent ZDNET AnchorDesk editorial, What they're NOT telling you about speech recognition, agrees with those of us who don't see much of a future in a physician or nurse wearing telephone operator gear while talking to (as oppose to cursing at) a desktop. (last visited 4/13/99)
- An accessible, credible list of general computing links is periodically updated by computer consultant Andrys Basten. (last visited 4/13/99)
- Conceptually based on Hesse's The Glass Bead Game, this San Francisco State University student's labor of love page links to bios and resources on the greatest minds in science, philosophy, and related disciplines. Depth of information varies tremendously, so play around. (last visited 4/13/99)
- Whether or not you're a Political Junkie, this relatively slow-loading, incredibly link-laden page is well worth the wait. (last visited 4/13/99)