Chipping away at the glacier…

A few articles in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) recently caught my attention. Sorry, no links to the articles – NEJM is an access-only journal (i.e., you need to have a subscription). I’m getting a sense that ehealth issues are slowly getting on the radar-screen of the traditional biomedical journals like NEJM, The Lancet, Nature, and Science.

“Personal Digital Educators” by Cimino & Bakken (vol. 352, iss. 9, 860-863)
A short little piece highlighting use of a personal digital assistant (PDA) as a clinical reference (e.g., drug reference). The information isn’t new, but the authors point out some of the advantages, disadvantages, and challenges to using a PDA.

“2015 – The Future of Medical Libraries” by Lindber & Humphreys (vol. 352, iss. 11, 1067, 1069-1070)
This short piece is the authors’s vision of what medical libraries may look like in the future. Technology may allow libraries to become places where people come to interact with one another, rather than a house of books (everything will be electronic). I find it interesting that the authors think that journals will still hold prominent positions in 2015. What was positively surprising is the future role of librarians as information specialists working closely with health care professionals in writing grants proposals, serving on institutional review boards, working as bioinformatics databse specialists, serving faculty-members in evidence-based medicine courses, and being involved in multilingual health-literacy programs and community partnerships”. Looks like the notion of the health care professional may be quite different in the future.

“Quiet in the Library” by Lee (vol. 352, iss. 11, 1068)
An interesting little piece about how technology is changing medicine. Lee comments on how the medical library has changed, and that technology is causing a similar change within the medical profession – you can’t know it all. In the past, the best medical students were those that knew the most (i.e., memorized the most). Now, Lee points out how medical students are now “learning how to learn” in face of information overload.