Why your physician is not aware of the latest medical information …

For maximum health, each person must take responsibility for working with their physician on treatment planning and they must research the medical literature themselves. It is not possible for their physician to know the latest information. Here is why:

40,000 pages a day of updated information is delivered to Harvard medical students by Caregroup CIO John Halamka. One of the medical school’s chief goals is to help students quickly and easily find the nuggets of information they need without sifting through mountains of resource material, Halamka says.

“More information is published every day in medicine than a doctor can read in a lifetime,” he says. “We are filtering all that information and, by creating this large Web infrastructure, delivering to the students just what they need for their current courses, along with some selected references on top of that.”

Making all relevant information available is a hefty task, Halamka says. “We deliver 40,000 pages of mobile content every day to about 350 active users of hand-held devices,” he says. Students are the heaviest users of the PDAs because they are tied up in classes all day with limited access to personal computers. Most medical school faculty access data via the Web from PCs located in their offices and hospital units, he adds.

Harvard Medical School provides the platform and software. Medical students are expected to purchase their own PDAs. The institution has arranged some pricing discounts, Halamka says, but requiring students to buy their own PDAs instills a sense of ownership in-and responsibility for-the hand-held devices.

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