Web Site Helps Nephrologists Organize Clinical Content


Caring for kidney patients is increasingly complicated and time-consuming.  To deliver the best medical care, providers need access to medical data at all times and from all locations.  Moreover, access must be quick and allow for rapid organization so that providers can dedicate most of their time analyzing and applying data to their patients. 

Increasingly, healthcare providers are turning away from print media and towards the Internet to meet these goals, but with varied results.  Not all medical Web sites provide universal access to accurate medical information in a user-friendly format.  To address these deficiencies and help providers meet their goals, the Division of Nephrology and Hypertension at East Carolina University has developed a 4-step online initiative called Nephrology On-Demand.

Step 1:  Automated Surfing

Nephrology On-Demand provides Really Simple Syndication (RSS) feeds for the busy provider who does not have the time to surf the Web for content.  RSS feeds redistribute the time spent finding content towards the time used to analyze that content.  With a Nephrology On-Demand RSS feed, the feed reader surfs the Web site on the user’s behalf and automatically organizes content by time, topic, author, and read/unread status.  The content is collated and organized in a user-friendly format without advertisements, pop-ups, or other distractions.  By delegating the time needed to surf and organize medical content on Nephrology On-Demand to its RSS feed, users focus solely on the content and have more time to interpret medical data. 

Step 2:  Dedicated mobile version

RSS feeds help users organize content faster but force the provider to use a dedicated computer terminal.  Healthcare providers are a unique group of online learners because they are always “on-the-move.”  Unlike other professionals, our responsibilities do not center on an office, desk, or computer terminal.  Rather than provide access to medical content at fixed positions in the hospital, clinic, or dialysis unit, Web educators need medical content to follow providers. 

Mobile Web sites, such as Nephrology On-Demand Mobile, demonstrate this philosophy.  Whether at the patient’s bedside or commuting to/from a dialysis unit, Nephrology On-Demand Mobile gives users full and complete access to medical content that takes advantage but respects the limitations of commonly used mobile devices (e.g., smartphones and PDA’s).  Providers have the freedom of obtaining medical content from any physical location, at anytime while on-the-go, and all in the palm of one’s hands. 

Step 3:  Multimedia resources

Nephrology On-Demand (via the RSS feed or the dedicated mobile version) displays medical content in multiple media formats.  Unlike many medical Web sites that distribute medical content through text-based resources only, Nephrology On-Demand balances text with multimedia resources.   Users with different learning preferences will find medical data presented in video, audio, and interactive tutorials.  In addition, users will have a more enhanced learning experience because these resources are found on one website and integrated with each other.

Step 4:  Transparent peer review

Finally, after working with a teaching resource through a mobile device or computer, users are asked to evaluate that resource.  Nephrology On-Demand gives online users the opportunity to grade these resources with a unique evaluation template.  From Accuracy to Design and Presentation, users can voice their opinions and help authors improve their teaching resources for future revisions.  

In addition, all users have access to these anonymous reviews to rapidly identify high-quality resources and avoid poor or ineffective ones.  With transparent peer review, a user knows the educational value of a teaching resource before one starts his/her learning.

We invite you to test Nephrology On-Demand.  As a Web site programmed by nephrologists to serve our unique working environments, you will find that Nephrology On-Demand provides accurate medical information quickly and in a user-friendly manner.  Lifetime membership is free but the time one can save is priceless. 

You can begin your learning by visiting www.nephrologyondemand.org.

Tejas Desai, MD, is an assistant professor of medicine in the division of Nephrology & Hypertension at East Carolina University—Brody School of Medicine Greenville, N.C. Email Desai at desait@ecu.edu.

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