Monday, December 21, 2015

Link to your favorite references from the AFP home page!

- Jennifer Middleton, MD, MPH

When I was a resident 10 years ago, I carried several references in the pockets of my white coat. My Palm pilot was useful for referencing medical equations but little else, so I carried everything else in paperback: a drug reference guide, an antibiotic guide, a book on common on-call patient situations. Online reference tools were in their infancy, and by the end of my intern year several pages in those books were dog-eared and memorized.

Fast forward to 2015: my smartphone contains all of those resources and more - I don't even have to carry a printed patient census in my pocket anymore when I round in the hospital. But as nice as smartphones are, nothing beats the full view of a webpage on a computer screen, and we have endless options of medical reference websites at our fingers. Answering clinical questions at the point-of-care is easier than it's ever been, but keeping track of those websites can be difficult. Sure, you can add bookmarks to your web browser, but some health systems limit the ability to access those behind their firewalls. Plus, it takes time to bring those up and log in.

What if you could pull up a trusted website and access all of your favorite references right there? AFP recently added the ability to do precisely that - on the right side of the top banner with a gold star is the new "Favorites" section. If you're logged in to the AFP website (which you can do once and leave it if you're working on a trusted computer), clicking on "Favorites" will bring you to a page where you can quickly paste in the hyperlinks of whatever references you'd like to include - be they AFP sites or others.

AFP By Topic and the Choosing Wisely tool are available from the AFP homepage, so I decided not to add those to my Favorites list. I did add AFP's Medicine by the Numbers webpage, along with our new Podcasts. I suspect that the CME Quiz and Photo Quiz department pages will be popular on many AFP subscribers' Favorites. I've also added my prescription drug database of choice and a couple of subscription online clinical information resources to round out my list.

Answering questions quickly at the point-of-care is easier than ever with the AFP Favorites feature, as is accessing your favorite medical content when you have a little more time to peruse it. If you'd like a full tour of all of the updates to the AFP website, including the Favorites feature, you can find it here.