Medical RSS filter engine that generates topic-specific RSS feeds from a directory of over 5000 feeds.
Medworm – Medical and Health News Customized
Medworm makes RSS for health professionals easy and practical. From a huge directory of health and medical news sources and journals, Medworm provides readers with the latest up-to-date news and research across multiple medical disciplines, including Psychology/Psychiatry. As a new visitor to the site you have a few choices:
1) Enter some keywords into the search box to search through the news archives. Think of it as a medically focused search engine. The cool thing is that RSS feeds are generated for your search query, so if you like the results you get back from your search, you can subscribe to that search query in an ongoing way.
2) Browse through current news items and their sources from a variety of categories provided on the front page: Publications, Blogs, Consumer Health, Medical Conditions, Cancers, Infectious Diseases, Therapies, Vaccines.
3) Register (for free) on the site and create your own account “My Medworm” which enables you to save and comment on articles in ‘My Clippings’, email articles of interest to your colleagues, save your favourite medical RSS feeds for easy access in ‘My Favourite Feeds’, view ‘My Reading List’ made up of unread articles from your favourite feeds, submit new RSS feeds to Medworm and finally, keep up with all the latest additions and new functionality added to the site.
Medworm is the work of Frankie Dolan, a UK-based IT engineer. I contacted Frankie to learn more about the origins of Medworm, the best way to use it and the key barriers in getting health professionals to use RSS.
What inspired you to get Medworm started?
I had been using RSS for a while for my own personal use in IT when I demonstrated its use to my husband, who is a doctor, as he wanted to brush up his IT skills to help him with his career. It was as I was demonstrating how to use RSS to subscribe to medical websites and journals that it dawned on my how incredibly useful RSS could be in the field of medicine – in my mind more than elsewhere, since I know doctors have to be constantly aware of the latest research news, and yet often have little time to do this. I also knew from my husband that the majority of doctors don’t have time to spend playing with new technologies – so if RSS was going to be useful, it had to be really simple to use. Even though creating an RSS feed is fairly simple in PubMed, most doctors that I know probably never would, and wouldn’t know what to do with them even if they did. I have tried to build MedWorm in such a way that it really doesn’t matter whether you understand RSS or not, anyone can easily get to the data they require.
On a personal note, I have found great enthusiasm for the project since I know it is proving to be incredibly useful for both patients and medical professionals alike in keeping up to date with the information they really need to know. I have always enjoyed writing computer programs, but have never previously had the satisfaction that I do now, knowing that my work is having a positive impact on society. I no longer have to be envious of husband – he would come home exhausted, but I knew he must feel good about what he was doing – and now so do I.
As an individual, how would suggest people best use Medworm to keep up with content in their area of interest?
MedWorm has a lot of RSS feeds to which people can subscribe, for example via speciality, publication, blog area and medical conditions – to name just a few, with more category areas soon to be created. In addition, any query run also creates a user generated RSS feed.
My first recommendation is to browse MedWorm for the pre-configured feeds and subscribe to those before subscribing to your own query generated feeds – the reason being that I have optimised the pre-configured feeds for the best results, and they are also updated more frequently.
If anyone has recommendations on new categories that I should be creating feeds for (i.e., certain conditions or therapies) you can submit a recommendation at the bottom of each category page. If anyone would like to recommend a data source, such as a psychology blog or publication, you can do so via the suggest a feed form in the members area. Creating a membership is free and only requires an email and logon name – unfortunately this step has been necessary to help avoid spam.
If you do create your own feeds, make sure to phrase your query carefully, otherwise you are going to be subscribing to a lot of irrelevant material. You can do this by making full use of the MedWorm search options, by selecting whether the query should run on any words, all words or exact phrases, and also by selecting what type of data you want returning – blogs are not selected by default, since they are not official medical sources, unless you are currently viewing blogs in MedWorm in which case they will be the only selected option. After running your query, make sure to order by date, not relevance, to get a real feel for whether it would be worthwhile pulling an RSS feed from the results or not.
If you are familiar with boolean operators, you can also use those: ‘+’ before a word means that the word has to be included, ‘-’ before a word means that it should not exist in the results, double quotation marks can be used around phrases, and brackets can also be used to apply a boolean operator to a group of words. For example, the query +(manic mania bipolar) +(depression depressed) would return all results where at least one of the first words (manic, mania or depression) and at least one of the second words (depression or depressed) exists.
Another area I recommend that people explore after running a query is the Filter tab – clicking on the this gives the option to view results via medical speciality.
What do you think are the biggest challenges in getting health professionals more literate in terms of RSS and utilizing it more often?
The majority of health professionals are just so busy doing their work, with a constant bombardment of new technology that it is hard for them to know if anything is really worthwhile spending time on, or just another passing gimmick. The first problem with RSS is that is another geeky acronym – the second is that it is contradicting itself by using the words ‘really simple’ next to ‘syndication’ (now how many people really know what a syndication is? – sounds complicated to me!)
I think medical professionals probably need to be introduced to RSS without really knowing that it is RSS – they need someone to say to them, for example – hey, look at this site, it’ll save you a lot of time – just click here, here and here and look at what you get. Then tell them they have just been using RSS and maybe explain what it is, if they are interested, which is unlikely – but mostly tell them to look out for the little orange RSS symbols around the net and make sure they know how to subscribe to them in probably just one simple way – they can always explore other options later. I think medical librarians are going to be
really key to the widespread use of RSS amongst medical professionals – and they are definitely leading the way in America. Of course blogging is helping a lot with everyone’s knowledge about RSS – that’s the way most people start to use RSS, to keep a track of what is happening in their favourite blogs.
Frankie informed me of some exciting opportunities and developments in the pipeline with regard to Medworm, especially around medical sponsorship and developing partnerships with medical specialty sites. These will hopefully raise the profile of RSS in medicine even further. Complexities aside however, if you are just looking for some great Psychology Resources and news content, I’d get started in the following places:
Psychiatry and Psychology Blogs – http://www.medworm.com/blogs/index.php/Psychiatrists-and-Psychologists/109/
Psychiatry and Psychology Publications – http://www.medworm.com/rss/Psychiatry-%2526-Psychology-36.php
Tagged “Psychology” – http://www.medworm.com/rss/search.php?qu=psychology&t=psychology&r=Exact&o=d&f=tag
Medical Conditions – http://www.medworm.com/rss/medicalconditions.php
If you are looking for a nice simple explanation of RSS – go no further than Frankie’s explanation.