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Dealing with Information Overload

Information overload is an occupational hazard of practicing medicine, especially if you spend time online. There's too much potentially useful stuff out there for one person to process effectively: journals, news sites, RSS feeds, wikis, blogs, webinars, Flickr, Facebook groups, CME courses, Google alerts... And don't get me started on Twitter.

Two of my favorite medical bloggers—Bertalan Meskó from ScienceRoll and Dr. Ves Dimov from Clinical Cases & Images—recently shared their methods for dealing with information overload.

Clinical Cases & Images uses Twitter innovatively, to share interesting items from his feed reader, which he then aggregates into blog posts: "Health News of the Day," for example, and "Selection of My Twitter Favorites." (What's Twitter? Twitter is an instant messaging service, a microblog, a social networking phenomenon, a chatroom, the best crowdsourcing utility ever invented, or a colossal waste of time — depending on who you ask.) Ves also discusses using Google Reader, Google Bookmarks, and shares his backup strategies.

Bertalan Meskó from ScienceRoll writes about using Tweetdeck to filter the 1000 (!) users he follows on Twitter. He also uses Friendfeed and the "best of the day" feature to identify interesting discussions. He mentions Microplaza, Twilerts, and Tweetbeep—three services I've never heard of—to filter out interesting discussions and posts. Bertalan also uses Google Alerts—of which I'm a great fan—to track any content published about him or other topics of interest. He ends with my Life Hacks for Doctors presentation, which has received more than 10,000 views to date. (w00t.)

What strategies and resources do you use to deal with information overload?

(Also posted on The Efficient MD.)
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About the Author


Dr. Schwimmer's blog explores the intersection of medicine, new technologies, and the Internet.