5 Tips to Stay Up-to-Date with Medical Literature

"How do you eat in elephant? In small bites." The same rule probably applies to staying current with the ever expanding avalanche of medical literature. One can try the following approach:

1. RSS Feeds for Journals.

Subscribe to the RSS feeds of the "Big Five" medical journals (NEJM, JAMA, BMJ, Lancet and Annals) plus 2-3 subpecialty journals in your field of interest. You can choose either Google Reader (a powerful RSS reader) or the simple iGoogle personalized page (if you subscribe to less than 10 feeds). PeRSSonalized Medicine by Webicina.com was one of the first services to arrange the medical journal feeds in a visually appealing way and make RSS consumption user-friendly.

Medical Journals tab: A screenshot of iGoogle with RSS feeds from the major medical journals.

Try to read the journal on the day it is published online, for example, NEJM and JAMA on Wednesdays, BMJ in Fridays, etc.

2. Podcasts.

Listen to journal podcasts. Click here to subscribe to the podcasts of 4 major journals in iGoogle.

3. Persistent Searches.

Subscribe to RSS feeds for "persistent searches" in Pubmed and Google. For example, choose a search term in your field of interest, run the search in Pubmed, then subscribe to the feed for the search. The same process can be repeated with Google News and Google Alerts.

Image source: U.S. National Library of Medicine.

4. Text-to-speech (TTS).

Use text-to-speech to listen to articles you do not have time to read.

5. Blogs and Twitter accounts.

Subscribe to high-quality medical blogs in your field of interest -- they often review most of the important new articles.

Related reading

Make Your Own "Medical Journal" with iGoogle Personalized Page
How to stay up-to-date with RSS in medicine - presentation from the free Social MEDia Course http://j.mp/Hale12
Not a Medical Course, but a Life Course (somewhat vague advice) http://goo.gl/mDMsr - Here are 5 practical tips:  http://goo.gl/n5rbw
Share iGoogle Tabs with Medical Journals, Podcasts and Gadgets
Annals of Internal Medicine Launches Podcast and Audio Summaries
Text-to-Speech Programs and Continuous Medical Education
Medical journals that use social media (spreadsheet). Body in Mind, 2011.
Image source: OpenClipArt, public domain.


  1. Great info. If your area of interest is health disparities our blog keeps you up to date by posting on current research.


  2. Great info, thank you! - L. Swamy, MS2

  3. you can also follow http://twitter.com/medicalnews to stay abreast of new medical publications!

  4. What are some of the good blogs?

  5. Ves:

    Please list good, informative as well as interesting blogs. I am particularly interested in Peds blogs but have deficient digital skill in locating such.