How do doctors keep up with the latest literature?

Physicians work hard to stay current on best practices to help optimize patient outcomes

May 05, 2016 · Production Blog Author

by Natasha Singh, Doximity

In the past we have shared information on how physicians read the news and have explored trends in how millennials and older physicians get their news. We developed these insights from data gathered from aggregate user behavior on Doximity as well as a survey of Doximity members. Today, we wanted to continue this series with a few additional insights on how different specialties keep up on their medical reading.

How much does medical literature matter? A lot.

To recap our findings from previous research, our survey found that 75 percent of physicians change their clinical practices quarterly or monthly based on reading medical literature. Perhaps unsurprisingly, 98 percent of physicians reported reading medical literature is important or very important to their practice.

Mobile vs. laptop?

There are a few interesting differences in how various specialties get their news delivered. Overall, more than two-thirds of physicians catch up on medical news on their mobile device vs. their laptop. But specialties such as neurosurgery, cardiology and orthopaedic surgery are among the most likely to access their news from their phone or tablet, while they are on the go. On the other hand, pathologists and immunologists, are 35% more likely than the average specialist to get their news on their computer. We suspect it has something to do with the countless hours spent in the lab.

What are they reading?

The average Doximity user is reading two or three articles every week posted on Doximity, from medical journals as well as other sources. Neonatologists, thoracic surgeons and emergency medicine physicians tend to be the heaviest weekly readers overall. However, radiation oncologists and neurosurgeons read more scientific and medical journal articles versus other medical news, as compared to other specialties. Generalizing, there seems to be a trend toward more highly specialized clinicians reading more scientific and technical articles, while general practitioners are more likely to take interest in healthcare related articles their patients may be reading in the lay press. By staying up-to-date on mainstream topics, general practitioners are better prepared to discuss the health topic du jour when brought up by patients in their office.

All the news that’s fit to print

It is time consuming to keep up with the latest medical advances, but physicians work hard to stay current on best practices to help optimize patient outcomes. Depending on the demands of your specialty and your practice, you probably have developed your own habits on how to stay current on medical literature.

What do you find to be the most effective ways to keep up with medical literature? Tweet @Doximity and let us know!

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