October 23, 2013
1 min read

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This year I had my first opportunity to attend IDWeek. After flying across the country and leaving many regular commitments behind in Philadelphia, I felt I had the responsibility to learn as much information as possible to bring home to my institution and to my patients. After all — information might be presented that might not be published in a journal for another year or two, or might not be published, period. The medical community has established a system where certain new information is released in a controlled setting at a fixed meeting place, but we lack a mechanism to then disseminate that information quickly so that it can impact our patients.

Understandably, investigators need time to design a study, conduct a study, write up the study, and then have it peer reviewed by others to determine that it is ready to share with the scientific community. Once conclusions have been made, we now have e-publications that come out ahead of print, so that papers are more rapidly available. Frequently popular media will release breaking information, but perhaps not with the level of detail we often seek out.  But can we move information even more quickly?

I think so. Folks in the tech industries share papers and ideas day in and day out across blogs, websites, online publications and social media because the field changes faster than a print journal can be published. We are still quite reliant on traveling across the country to a conference, subscribing to journals, and maintaining full PubMed access to find the information that will help our patients. And for those abstracts that never turn into papers – they will live in the grey literature, hidden from the masses. So how can be best utilize technology to share ideas? IDWeek started us off with an ‘app’ and a twitter handle.  Follow me this year @lorikestenbaum  — I’ll be sure to ‘tweet’ when I come across interesting Pediatric ID articles, so you don’t have to wait for them to arrive at your doorstep. I’d love to read what you find, too.

Disclosure: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.