It can be challenging for a busy physician to keep up with the latest developments in healthcare. 

By some estimates, the body of medical knowledge doubles every 73 days. Transformations that took 50 years in 1950 now occur in less than three months. Clinical methods are also improving, but it’s impossible to assimilate and apply the latest research and development at the pace of innovation. 

No matter how dedicated you are to continuous learning, you’re busy treating patients as a clinician. There’s hardly time to read the news, let alone scour journals for information relevant to your practice. How do leading doctors stay on top of the latest healthcare advancements?

Tips for learning about the latest developments in healthcare

Here are four popular ways for medical professionals to stay up-to-date with the latest developments in healthcare.

1. Talk to your colleagues

One of the most efficient and satisfying ways to stay current with medical innovation is to exchange information with colleagues. Make a point to talk to other doctors in your organization and social circles, as well as nurses, PAs, and pharmacists.

It’s impossible to keep up with all the new information alone. Now more than ever, it’s essential to draw on your community’s shared knowledge. Develop broad networks and take the time to talk—at work and socially—with clinicians and other healthcare professionals.

2. Subscribe to email newsletters

You probably don’t have time to sort through the latest issues of each journal in your specialty. But you can still be up-to-date by letting others curate research highlights for you. 

Email newsletters are a great source of high-quality curated content. For example, AMA Morning Rounds delivers the most relevant information distilled from more than 3,000 major newspapers, magazines, and journals. It also includes highlights from the AMA and JAMA Network.

Of course, sometimes less is more when it comes to your email inbox. Ask colleagues for their favorite specialty-specific newsletters; only stay subscribed if you read them. Here are a few of our favorite newsletters for primary care physicians, orthopedists, and busy practice managers

3. Adopt decision support

Clinical decision support (CDS) is increasingly built into everyday practice tools to help clinicians access the latest biomedical knowledge at the point of care. These tools can look like alerts in your EMR, clinical guidelines, condition-specific order sets, or documentation templates.

CDS systems come in many forms and can perform many functions, from harnessing insights from big data to reducing duplicative testing. However, you can also use CDS tools to stay current with medical innovations.

One example is UpToDate, a platform that provides software for different clinical specialties and organizational needs. UpToDate has 7,400 clinical authors and editors who review hundreds of journals to curate the most important new information in recent weeks. Research associates the use of this platform with improved outcomes.

4. Attend conferences

In an era of fast and quick information, conferences may seem the least efficient way to stay current with medical innovation. However, a day or two in person with colleagues can give you much-needed space for focus and learning.

Try to attend at least one healthcare conference annually. Pick an event relevant to your practice, and consider it a chance to stay current with the latest developments in your field.

Find a method that works for you

Whatever approach you take to stay updated with the latest developments in healthcare, ensure it works for you. If you try to adopt a habit you don’t enjoy or have time for, it won’t last.

Commit now to a small step and then continue exploring what tools, platforms, and communities help you keep learning and providing the best care possible.

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