Tech Tips: Dealing With the Information Firehose, Part I


Inundated by a torrent of journal content from the Internet? Of course you are. In the first installment of his series, rheumatologist Suleman Bhana MD offers initial tips for controlling the flood.

Part of the challenge of practicing modern medicine is dealing with the firehose of medical information that we are required to keep up to date with.

Unfortunately, there is no easy way for one physician to read dozens of articles from hundreds of journals a month. Luckily, there are several technology solutions that help.

In this first installment of Tech Tips, I'll go over a few applications that can help you curate medical journals for reading on a tablet.

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1.   DocNews

DocNews ( by Docwise is an iOS-only medical journal app (available only for IPad, not for Android). It calls itself "A Personalized E-Journal for Physicians." It has a feel similar to the popular reading app on iOS and Android, Flipboard.

DocNews allows you to "subscribe" to any number of medical journals, after which it presents the abstracts as tiles you can tap on and expand. The tiles appear in chronological order, from newest to oldest.

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Once you tap on an abstract tile, it expands from the preview to full-screen view of the abstract.

Tapping the "Read entire article" button will bring you to an in-app web browser

From there, if you have personal or institutional access, you can pull up the PDF of the article.

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The iOS share button gives options to send the abstract link to someone else.

Conspicuously missing is an "open in Safari" button, or compatibility with iOS 8 extensions to open the link in other apps or to save it to other services.

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Another helpful feature of DocNews is a search option that allows you to search your collection of journals for specific search terms. As this image shows, you can subscribe not only to journals, but also to curated topics.

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2. Docphin

Docphin ( ) is another app that allows users to view streams of information from multiple medical journals. Unlike DocNews, the Docphin app is universal to iOS and Android.

The home screen gives both topic alerts and new article alerts for subscribed journals.

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The interface is similar to many other reading apps, with a main viewing window and a navigation pane to the left.

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Users can subscribe to individual journals as well. (The landmark articles for rheumatology, unfortunately, have not been updated since 2011.)

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Fortunately, Docphin gives numerous opportunities to share the links to the abstracts, including the option to open in a browser or just copy to your clipboard.

Although not a substitute for reading a whole issue of a journal, these apps can go a long way to helping one deal with the information firehose that is coming at us all day.

In the next installment of this series, I'll go over ways to store these links or articles for later reference, in a cloud-based and device-agnostic way.

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