Personal Learning Networks for Health Care Professionals

In a previous post, I described creating “life hacks” for learning. In the health care field, life hacks can include developing personal learning networks (PLNs) to support continuing medical education (CME).

Creating a health-focused personal learning network

Webicina offers  tools for creating a personal health-learning network. There are resources for both  health care professionals and for empowered patients. You can install the free Webicina toolbar  on your browser to speed your access to Webicina resources.

Starting with the search

Specialized search engines can help you find up-to-date information quickly. A “short list” of resources is provided below.

  • Entrez – a meta-database of journals and other information; access gene data and PubMed from here
  • GeneTests – information and links to gene tests for particular diseases
  • GeneReviews –  a subset of the GeneTests database
  • Healthfinder – for patients as well as physicians; includes a database of government-sponsored and non-profit sites
  • HONMedhunt – a meta-search engine; search from database of HON-accredited sites
  • Intute – UK based, resources are evaluated by human specialists
  • Journal Watch – access to a collection of journals; some are open-source
  • – sign up for news alerts on topics like oncology
  • Medscape – offers up-to-date conference coverage of many major conferences like ASCO
  • eMedicine – a subset of Medscape, includes clinical references
  • – see especially the “MedPro” tab
  • OMIM –  information on all known Mendelian disorders and over 12,000 genes; will link to Gene Tests site
  • PubMed – in addition to searches, use it to create  alerts on topics of interest
  • SearchMedica – allows you to refine searches by categories; suggests related concepts
  • Scirus – a multipurpose scientific search site; you can email, save, or export your search results
  • Scienceroll Search – you can tailor your searches to focus on particular topics, such as cancer
  • Trip Database – requires registration,  clinical search tool for evidence-based medicine resources
  • UptoDate – an evidence-based, peer-reviewed information resource available via the Web, desktop/laptop computer and mobile devices (requires registration)
  • Vadlo – use the dropdown menu by the search bar to search databases, online tools, protocols, and PowerPoints

Personal knowledge management tools

These tools aren’t really domain specific, but some suggested tools for making sense of information are described here.

Knowledge management in the medical profession is an increasingly mobile endeavor. You can use this Diigo resource to keep up-to-date on mhealth issues. (If you haven’t used Diigo before, see this post.)

Although tools can make  it easier to manage the onslaught of new information in the medical field, power users of personal learning networks recognize the importance of peers as resources. Some social networks for physicians include:

Enhancing physician-patient communication skills

Including patients in a personal learning network is a good way to enhance communication skills which are necessary for developing the most effective, personalized health care strategies for patients. The Mayo Clinic Center for Social Media offers some useful insights into how health care providers can participate in a wider social network that includes patients.

Additionally, you can use this Diigo collection to keep up-to-date on important health literacy issues.

What are the power tools in your health-learning arsenal?

2 responses to “Personal Learning Networks for Health Care Professionals

  1. Pingback: A STEPP Approach to Health Literacy and 25 Resources to Get Started | Instructional Design Fusions

  2. Pingback: Blekko, a new search engine aiming to slash spam | Instructional Design Fusions

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