As medical students we are constantly bombarded by information at university. We are then expected to go home revise and further extend our knowledge. One strategy towards our self directed learning is to whip out our textbooks and delve into the lines and line of text and static imagery. Online resources are the alternative, they provide interactive and dynamic content and allow us to access information in a much greater variety of ways. The problems of information overload then really start to begin.
Using a selection of quality and informative online resources we can reduce this load, and I hope too today share some of the resources I and others find particularly valuable in our education toolkit. Please note the list of resources are all freely available, however some more comprehensive options do exist that require payment/subscription. I recommending checking what online resources are provided by your Medical School.
Top 5 Search Engines
Search Engines play an important role in accessing information, but each come with their own strengths and weaknesses. While Google, Bing & Yahoo are fine for general search, they do not always return information that is relevant to the health profession. Consequently, utilising health specific search engines yield better results. These are the Top 5 Search for Health Professionals according toLifeinthefastLane.com. For a more comprehensive overview of each click here.
Scirus is the Google for scientific information, currently covering over 480 million science-related Web pages. It’s is not only for medicine but covers a large portion of the science field. Searches can be broken down into Journal sources, preferred web (patent offices, universities, MD Consult and so on) and other web. You can integrate Scirus into your browser by either their Search Toolbar orFirefox extension.
Social Media Resources
Medpedia is best described as a sibling of Wikipedia. A sibling that just happens to know a bit more about medicine and provides the correct information. Medical professionals collaborate to provide accurate information , however only Medical Doctors or researchers with a Ph.D in a biomedical field can edit. This allows everyone to contribute, but ensures the validity of the information.
The feature that is particularly useful for medical students and professionals is that for each entry there is an option for the ‘plain english’ and clinical version. Aside from the wiki, there are also various groups and communities in which you can interact.
Webicina is an aggregator of medical resources, including the best web 2.0 resources. This includes blogs, community sites, podcasts or search engines, among others, that focus on one specific issue. (e.g. cardiology).
Meducation is a community site for Doctors and medical students. At this it is primarily UK-based but contains a wide spectrum of useful medical resources (videos, powerpoints, notes and so on) and practice exam questions. You join by a simple registration process or you can connect via your Facebook account.
Doc2doc is another online community run by the BMJ that allows you to discuss aspects of medicine and puzzling cases. Doc2doc is more suitable for later level medical students as opposed to Meducation.
StudentDoctorNetwork (SDN) is both a community and information site. It covers a wide range of the medical field from audiology through to veterinary. In addition, it has a number of useful tips about coping with student life and career development.
PagingDr is an Aussie medical community. While it was more of a pre-med community initially, as more of those members have passed through medical education the variety of members has increased (premeds, medical students, interns, and doctors). For a medical student, this community is more about discussing medical student life rather than in-depth case analysis and so on. So for example if you’re worried about getting an intern place or affording medical school, this a good place to look.
- Medical Dictionary – Not sure what a word means? Check out online medical dictionary for a concise answer.
- Medical Mnemonics – Struggle to remember the cranial nerves or want an alternative way of learning. Medical mnemonics is a catalogue of mnemonic tools submitted by students and professionals for remembering components of medicine (from Anatomy through to Urology)
- NCBI Books – A collection of freely available quality books.
- Lab Tests online – Want to know what test you need to order, what the results mean or what happens behind the scenes in a pathology lab, Lab tests online answers some of those questions.
- LearnersTV – A rich resource of medical video lectures ranging from anatomy, the sciences, heaps of physical examination videos, neurological examinations etc
- Medscape is free resource for students and physicians and provides medical journal articles, drug references news and much more. A useful feature is to sign-up to their MedscapeCME Case Studies. Each week they will send you an email with a Case study to test and challenge your current medical knowledge. An iphone app is also available.
- LifeinthefastLane Clincal Images & Cases – Provide a wide range of clinical cases per week, and have a great summary of clinical images.
- MDCalc – Performs common medical calculations used in diagnosis.
Cardiology & Respiratory
- Heart Sounds & ECG – http://www.blaufuss.org/
- Cardiology Textbook – Cardiology explained (Euan A Ashely, Josef Niebauer)
- Respiratory Resource Repository – DundeeChest
- Nephrology on Demand (University of Eastern Carolina) – http://www.nephrologyondemand.org/
- Learn Genetics – Learn.Genetics provided by the University of Utah delivers educational materials on genetics, bioscience and health topics.
- Immunology for Medical Students – Designed by the medical faculty from Dalhousie University, this online resource is a useful overivew of immunology.
- Immunology and Microbiology – Provided by the University of South Carolina
- Shotgun Histology – A selection of videos investigating the histology of different tissues. A highly valuable resource for those who have had no experience in histology.
- Medical Microbiology – A online textbook covering the principles of microbiology.
- Principles of Clinical Pharmacology – An introduction to pharmacology provided by the NIH Clinical Centre with a series of both text resources and video presentations.
- Grays Anatomy – A timeless resource which features 1,247 vibrant engravings—many in color—from the classic 1918 publication.
- InnerBody – Covers all body systems from Cardiovascular to Urinary anatomy. Each topic has animations, 100’s of anatomy graphics, and thousands of descriptive links.
- Instant Anatomy
- Surgical Exam – An online resource for those interested in surgery. Has cases, MCQs, an endoscopy library and much more.
- The AO Surgery Reference is a huge online repository of surgical knowledge, consisting of more than 7’000 pages. It overviews surgical procedures, surgical decision making, and has an abundance of images and videos.
- Human Embryology – A comprehensive resource developed by a collaboration between a number of Swiss Universities. Would highly recommend.
- UNSW Embryology – A resource by Dr Mark Hill which contains animations, images, text and links to help you understand how the body develops.
- Anaesthesia MCQ – An interactive resource of tutorials, a forum, exam questions and links pertaining to anaesthesia. Useful for understanding of pharmacology, acid-base system and for GAMSAT or MCAT type questions.
- Neuromuscular Disease Center (Washington University) – http://neuromuscular.wustl.edu/index.html
This rounds up the current list of useful medical resources. I will be adding some more as time goes on to the resources section. Feel free to share resources that you find useful.