Most articles in clinical journals are not appropriate for direct application by individual clinicians. It is possible for a physician who reads journals to miss useful articles, and miss the opportunity to update their knowledge.
On the whole, the goal is to improve the use of current evidence by practicing physicians. Keeping their knowledge current will provide better informed decisions, and consequently lead to better patient care. McMaster researchers are investigating ways to improve the use of current evidence by physicians.
One tool devised to address this problem is the McMaster Premium Literature Service (McMaster PLUS), developed by the Health Information Research Unit (HIRU). Its innovative features are designed to encourage reading of journal articles by clinicians.
How McMaster PLUS works:
- Over 130 journals are mined for clinical articles and reviews.
- PLUS works concurrently with the McMaster Online Rating of Evidence (MORE) system to identify particularly clinically relevant and novel articles from various disciplines.
- Relevance and novelty scores are assigned by multiple physicians (at least 3) from around the world (on a 7-point scale). Only high quality and clinically relevant articles are kept.
- E-mail updates are delivered to physicians who have subscribed to PLUS when new articles are available. Physicians can click on the link to read the article.
- Physicians can customize how often they want to receive updates, and set a threshold of relevance for the articles (7-point scale)
Advantages of McMaster PLUS:
- Encourages physicians to stay current with the latest evidence from medical literature, relevant to their discipline
- Allows physicians to save time by reading only articles that have been screened for relevance to their discipline
- Physicians use the limited time they do spend on continuing education more effectively.
- Option is available to search through all previous records of relevance-filtered articles
Knowledge Translation at McMaster
McMaster PLUS is another tool designed to tackle a knowledge translation problem. This service was designed and tested to provide an effective manner to transfer knowledge to practicing physicians. McMaster PLUS has entered into a joint venture with the BMJ publishing group to provide bmjupdates+ (http://www.bmjupdates.com), the same service but partnered with the BMJ resources. McMaster PLUS is an exciting knowledge translation effort to support the ongoing use of evidence by physicians, and ensure that knowledge is transferred to those who can use it.