A NEW TOOL FOR STAYING UP-TO-DATE WITH MEDICAL LITERATURE: A WEB FEEDS PORTAL FOR MEDICAL JOURNALS

V. Dimov 1*, K. Uzunova-Dimova 2, A. Kumar 1, A. Rajamanickam 1, S. Noor 1, A. Usmani 1, 1 Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, OH 44195, U.S.A, 2 Private practice, Cleveland, OH 44140, U.S.A.

Purpose
Web feeds are powered by an Extensible Markup Language (XML) protocol which constantly provide updates from web sites of interest, thus saving time for their user. A web feeds reader acts like a personal assistant who constantly browses the web to find only the information requested. The usefulness of such approach for staying up-to-date with medical literature and to enhance medical education may deserve further investigation.

Methods
We used a Google.com personalized page to create a web feeds portal which compiled information from 9 major medical journals into one easy-to-read page. All 28 academic hospitalists at a large tertiary care center were granted access to the portal and asked to use it. An anonymous survey comprised of 9 questions with a 5-point Likert scale (5-1, strongly agree-strongly disagree) was designed to evaluate the perceived usefulness of the portal and was distributed to its users.

Results
Forty three percent of the users (12 of 28) completed the questionnaire, 100% of them rated the web feeds portal as useful and easy-to-use, 92% thought that it changed the way they learn in a positive way. All readers claimed the web feed portal was helping them to stay up-to-date with the new developments in medicine.

Conclusion
A web feeds portal designed to provide constant updates from major medical journals was perceived as very useful by academic hospitalists at a large tertiary care center. Such portals, which offer a free and easy-to-use service, may be a valuable tool in the quest for life-long medical education.