October 13, 2010

Subscribe to clinical pearls

There are all kinds of pearls floating around on the ocean floor of the Internet but we want those that are so tiny small that we can read them at a glance but still feel like full like after a Christmas evening meal. So small actually that we can have them as email. Luckily for us there are colleges out there who think the same and have made these pearls.

Here are my all time favorites, the ones I've hanged on to:
  • Educational Pearls from University of Maryland School of Medicine
    Since 2007 the Maryland EPs (and again Amal Mattu is on-board, amazing how all the best EM stuff on the Net in the end winds up to Mr. Mattu!) have made one daily clinical pearl for a broad selection of EM topics. Short as skirts, information-packed as a sunny italian beach - it's a joy to be a subscriber to. And if you as me start the subscription but feel like you've missed out - you can even browse through their archives. Amazing work and will most likely go to the history books!
  • EMedHome
    This is a respectable website with great emergency physicians onboard such as Peter Rosen and Amal Mattu just to mention a few. Not surprisingly then their content is of highest quality. EMedHome is actually a multi-functional website with podcasts and full text articles on updates on hot emergency medicine topics and you can read more about them in my resources list.
    As a member you can have emailed to you daily clinical question (with answer) and weekly clinical pearl, the last one I got was about 3 critical ECG features to differentiate anterior ischemia from posterior MI, a real case we had just days ago!

When I started this blogpost I thought I would be mentioning at least 5-6 of various sources. After digging trough my previous and current subscriptions I found some of my subscriptions are more like packed newsletters (like Journal Watch's high quality journal updates or Medscape's various and detailed daily/weekly email subscriptions) than tiny clinical pearls.

So email pearls aren't so many after all but my preference is quality, not quantity. My inbox is as fragile as my cornea and everything that goes into it is there for a good reason. Email overload drains your energy faster than the Krebs cycle. That's why RSS is an extraordinary solution and I am amazed so often I find out my colleges don't what what it is. Try to see RSS as "passive email", something that doesn't require your immediate attention but waits for you until you are ready. Like a newspaper actually - after all your RSS list is a compilation of headlines from all your favorite sources like blogs, newsletters or even academic journals. RSS is as essential to surviving the 21th century information overload as a pocket knife is in the jungle of Amazon. Lifeinthefastlane has an excellent article, "RSS for dummies" worth checking out.

Here are my favorite RSS clinical pearls:
  • Michelle Lin has a wonderful "tricks of the trade" series on her blog with pearls that you can immediately take home to your clinical work.
  • If you accept Q/A form as a clinical pearl, a few Detroit EPs have made this fantastic blog with a weekly clinical question which then i answered a few days later. They even accept answers with email and have a score board for you to tickle you ambitions. The questions are very applicable.

This will be all folks. They aren't many but they sure are good. Please let me know if you have any more to add to this list!