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The Right Tool

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Recently read the Latest edition of Journal of Health informatics in developing countries. Specifically, Search engines : a study of nine search engines in four categories by Dallas Knight (Health Informatics Programme University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand). This study’s objective was to determine how search engines within different categories compare, and to look at features and trends of search engines that are commonly used for queries by both health consumers and professionals.
The query terms used for this study are

* Ulcerative colitis
* Benign positional vertigo
* Pleomorphic rhabdomyosarcoma
* “online tool” for help with depression
* exercise after bowel cancer operatione


Search engines within the general category (Google, SearchYahoo!) performed best overall.
Meta search engines (Dogpile, Jux2) also performed well with vertical search engines (Healia, Kosmix, Healthline) next. Health portals (Revolution Health, WebMD) produced relevant useful results for common terms, but not for unusual query terms.
This poll on linkedin attempts to quantify "What biomedical search engine do you use?"

You can log on to the poll for statistics about Search engine use by age, gender, job title etc. A lot of insight there, i assure you.

Other important medical education and learning tools the study talks about include

* Custom built Search engines (eg Google, Rollyo and EureksterSwiki )
* Blog sites, wikis and podcasts
* social bookmarking with Del.icio.us and Digg.com
* RSS site feeds read by aggregators or emails
* Yahoo Pipes! for channelizing information

The few services and tools it missed include,

* Zotero firefox extension and Evernote web clipper - for online research notes
* Ning for community building
* Youtube(eg.youtube.com/medicaleducation) and Medicalvideos.us for videos.
* Twitter for sharing updates
* Docstoc and Scribd for document search
* Freemind for brain mapping

Check out digital-medicine.blogspot.com for more.

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