Sunday, February 3, 2008

Irecently read an article regarding a great Firefox extension called Zotero. I'll get to what it is in just a minute; but, this find got me thinking about Evidence Based Medicine (EBM) and how to keep up to date easier and with better organization.

For me, the big barriers to practicing EBM are keeping up-to-date with information from a multitude of sources and then trying to effectively organize that information once received. Fortunately, the internet and free software can help me/us with both of those barriers.

First, a great way to keep current on new information from multiple sources is taking advantage of a technology called RSS that is a web feed format that automatically updates information from it's source. How do you use RSS? Feeds can be 'subscribed' to and kept in one place such as your Google Homepage, My Yahoo page, aggregators, or RSS readers. I'm not an expert on the pro's on con's of each, so some trial and error will need to be done on your part. However, I did find a nice explanatory article on many of these.

For those of us that are technologically inept (you should work on that), EvidenceInMotion has a service called Evidence Express that does the work of aggregating all the information for you then sends it to you in daily Email right to your in box.

For those who want to collect the RSS feeds themselves, a previous payware reader called FeeDemon is now Freeware. I currently use FeedReader because it is free, updated regularly, and is straight forward to use. Take a look at them both and choose for yourself.

So, now you've got the latest update on new research from, say JOSPT, now what do you do? I would download the PDF, put in a folder with a name I'd hope I'd remember down the line, and then either never find it again or take hours to do so. Now this problem can be solved. Zotero is an extension (aka - an add in the works inside firefox) for Firefox that automatically sites, stores and allows you to make notes, attach items, and more for all of our evidence we find. There is a slight learning curve, but it is well worth it. You can then search key words to find the exact article you are looking for.

The tools are available for us to be efficient with how we find and store evidence for our clinical practices. We just need to take advantage of them, and not be afraid for flail a little when learning to use them.

Looking forward to any comment regarding other great EBM tools out there.


Post a Comment