Trip Database Blog

Liberating the literature


January 2009


medgadget, a site dedicated to emerging medical technologies has an annual Medical Weblog Awards and the winner for 2008 (announced recently) was KevinMD. Medgadget reports:

“The winner of the Best Medical Blog of 2008 is the legendary KevinMD. Dr Kevin Pho has built an exemplary blog that features timely news and opinion of the latest in medicine, bringing in one of the most devoted audiences and keeping thousands of curious minds satisfied with smart and funny writing.”

For those eagle-eyed amongst you, you will have already spotted a KevinMD badge on the homepage of TRIP. In return we’ll soon have a ‘search TRIP’ box on the KevinMD homepage.

Reciprocity can be very useful at times!


The health video site icyou has thousands videos, all related to healthcare. The site tells us:

“icyou is a user-generated video community that empowers you to make informed decisions about your health”

I was made aware of it via twitter and following this link will highlight the discussion – click here.

I’d welcome any other thoughts on icyou!

Social networks in medicine

With our experience with Gwagle and the lessons learnt, I look on the explosion of clinical social networks with some interest and increasingly little expectations. A few interesting recent posts on the subject:

I feel that many of these social network initiatives are technology led, not user led and are likely to suffer as a result. It’s easy to look on at the likes of Facebook and think – ‘we can do that’. The likes of Ning have made entry minimal but still there appears to be no obvious social networks for clinicians that have made significant impacts.

The reasons for this are no doubt complex, but a few thoughts are below:

  • Many clinicians have developed social networks and real ones at that!
  • Social networks typically need a critical mass to make them useful.
  • Still too early on in the innovation ‘cycle’ to make it mainstream – this point could be said about many web 2.0 initiatives (e.g. blogs, social bookmarking etc)

For an overt social network to do well it needs to package itself differently and I have no idea how that might look. I think a better chance of success is to try and create a clinical social network at the back-end of other websites and help them power community aspects. I would also like to see some efforts at an opensocial initiative for clinical sites. If these very small sites could – loosely – band together it might just create a site big enough to have a critical mass.

I keep wondering if trust is a keypoint in all this?

Survey time

Every now and then TRIP likes to find out more about our users and how they find TRIP, what improvements they’d like to see etc. Therefore, we’d really appreciate you taking 5 minutes to take our latest survey. We have two surveys, one for health professionals (and allied professions) and one for non-health professionals.

These surveys really are useful in improving TRIP so please contibute via these links below:

Recent twitter activity

The following is a short selection of tweets that I enjoyed or found useful.

sciencebase @JoBrodie As you’ve found, there is no good evidence for glucosamine efficacy, even in conjunction with chondroitin.

joemd MD Life: For the clnician to become “patient centered” is often to become less self-centered

bengoldacre Randomised trial finds no evidence of mercury in vaccines causing brain nastiness: Where will the antivaxxers go..

bbchealth The UK’s doner kebabs contain “shocking” levels of salt, fat and calories, a survey concludes.

stephenfry More filming to be done. Hospital scenes. I can’t help liking myself in white coat and stethoscope. Is that sad and ridiculous?

bbchealth Reducing what you eat by nearly a third may improve memory, according to German researchers.

JRBtrip Anamnesis – when you tell your medical history to a doctor!

kevinmd Should pediatricians care about the manners of children?

Promoting info & communication technologies by health professionals

Interventions for promoting information and communication technologies adoption in healthcare professionals, a new Cochrane systematic review.

Perhaps unsurprisingly the authors conclude:

“There is very limited evidence on effective interventions promoting the adoption of ICTs by healthcare professionals. Small effects have been reported for interventions targeting the use of electronic databases and digital libraries. The effectiveness of interventions to promote ICT adoption in healthcare settings remains uncertain, and more well designed trials are needed.”

Mayo on Facebook

If you want to share a good experience at the Mayo Clinic, now you can share it with friends and contacts via Facebook and other social networks and become a “fan”.

Click here for further info.

TRIP Answers – progress to date

It’s just over 6 weeks old and TRIP Answers seems to have taken off.

Since January 1st we’re seen the following:

  • Had over 26,000 visits
  • Added over 350 new Q&As, all quality marked
  • Main users from UK, USA, Canada, Australia and Spain
  • We’ve been approached by 3 large organisations looking to add our content to their sites

The top 3 Q&As viewed are:

  • A 38-year-old lady who is a smoker is having amenorrhoea on the progesterone only pill. She has a strong family history of osteoporosis. What are the current guidelines/evidence on investigations for this lady; i.e. when should she have a bone scan or plasma oestordiols?
  • What are the expected disease prevalences in wales for the purpose of the New Contract registers (i.e. CHD/LVD, CVA/TIA, diabetes, asthma, COPD, epilepsy cancer, mental health, hypothyroidism.)
  • I have a 17-year-old female patient, normotensive, non-smoker, not overweight, with 21day heavy cycle; I’d like to start her on oral contraceptive pills. Her mother had proven DVT aged 45 on HRT when no other risk factors present. Should I do thrombophilia screen before prescribing oral contraception?

We’ve got a slight issue with the Tag Cloud of Clinical Uncertainty so we’re not pushing that part of the site yet. Aside from that, the site is going pretty well and seems stable. We’re planning a slight redesign to help usability, but again nothing too major.

So far, I’d give the site 9/10!

The lessons pilots can teach surgeons

A great news story on the BBC news website, it starts:

“Before take-off, every pilot needs to brief their crew about what to expect.

At the end of each flight, they talk briefly about what went right, what went wrong and what could be done better.

Pilots say this brief and debrief system has reduced errors and made flying safer, and a growing number of NHS medics think this system should be adapted – to make surgery safer.”

Click here to read the full story.

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