Completions and Connections Left from Last Year

Ah, New Year's. Resolutions are being made, abstract deadlines are pending. The senior residents are interviewing for jobs, medical students are touring through our ED. Yes, there's ambition in the air, and I'm certainly doing my part -- committing to new projects at a dizzying rate.

But that's not to say old projects will wither! In fact, I've been meaning to point out two entries to my recent Grand Rounds edition that somehow ended up on the cutting room floor (I blame the egg nog).

The first is actually a trio of posts from my closest blogging consigliere (at least, geographically). New York nephrologist Dr. Joshua Schwimmer compiles KidneyNotes, his helpful collection of useful links and news clippings, punctuated by some striking photos. He has an extensive list of medical podcasts, for those of us who got iPods for the holidays.

But what he really wants to draw our attention to is a new tool he developed for Dissect Medicine, the medical version of the Digg popularity aggregator. Though still small (and in beta), Dissent Medicine could easily become a huge destination for medical news and opinions. Kinda like Grand Rounds, without the soul.

Another entry came from Dr. Ves Dimov at the Clinical Cases & Images Blog -- the leading blog for highlighting web practice resources. He sent in his impressions from the American Society of Nephrology (ASN) Renal Week 2006 -- which will go down in history as the first medical conference where data on medical blogging was presented. Unless we missed one already.

For the record: Pubmed now lists one article with the word "weblog" in the abstract, and 32 articles with the word "blog" (though four papers predate the Web 2.0 era, and include an author named "Blog" -- is that Swedish?)

If you're interested on the emerging impact of blogs in medicine (and who isn't?) here are a few noteworthy references: A blog for residents' dermatology education, PACS IT guys using a blog to good effect, and a neurologist in Japan using a blog to teach the public about epilepsy surgery.

Some people are already drawing conclusions and making recommendations:
Therefore, research should be conducted to determine the best ways to integrate these tools into existing e-Learning programmes for students, health professionals and patients, taking into account the different, but also overlapping, needs of these three audience classes and the opportunities of virtual collaboration between them. Of particular importance is research into novel integrative applications, to serve as the "glue" to bind the different forms of Web-based collaborationware synergistically in order to provide a coherent wholesome learning experience.

The wheels, they are turning.