Saturday, May 09, 2009

Sweet dreams are made of this...

This blog muses on how to access reliable information needed for professional practice.

As the old Annie Lennox song goes, Sweet Dreams are made of this .... everybody's looking for something.

After reviewing some of the more reliable resources, the blog will identify and recommend one resource that is freely available to all and offers high quality advice on an endless variety of issues by a range of international experts - la crème de la crème for practical TM advice.

Where can TM health professionals, including medical technologists, nurses, and physicians, access high quality information beyond their immediate circle of friends and colleagues, who frankly may not be the best sources? Obvious resources include

1. Transfusion-related journals, requiring subscriptions except for those on PubMed Central, including:

2. Published literature on PubMed, again requiring subscriptions or access via local medical libraries that offer access to health staff
3. Cochrane Library, free in many countries
4. Major TM association sites, "anchor websites" as I call them, but many resources are limited to members
5. Government-associated websites, inc. national blood transfusion services (small selection - many more exist)


But what about reliable advice related to specific issues that may not be covered in published papers or available on websites? Frankly, many if not most, of the practice-related questions that arise can only be answered by consulting colleagues with relevant experience and expertise.

So, how to access the experts? Today it's especially important to tap the knowledge that is seldom found in textbooks or research papers, including tacit knowledge that professionals may not even realize they have.
Many professional associations offer informal consultation, but only to members, via forums such as the
Several mailing lists exist, such as two that I manage:
  • "transfusion" (moderated bilingual list of Canada's TSOs)
  • MEDLAB-L, the largest English language mailing list for lab professionals in all disciplines, which is semi-moderated and has many subscribers who specialize in transfusion medicine
There are also independent start-ups such as Blood Bank Talk (unmoderated)
Crème de la Crème
In my view the best resource currently available for TM professionals to obtain high quality advice is the
Editor and Moderator is Ira A. Shulman, MD, with help from Assistant Editor and Moderator W. Tait Stevens, MD.
Anyone can subscribe to the e-Network Forum newsletter, which alerts subscribers to new discussion topics.
So what makes the CBBS e-Network Forum such a valuable resource? In my view its key strengths include
  • Submissions are edited and moderated by TM experts, resulting in a high signal to noise ratio, which is critical to busy professionals

  • Moderator Ira Shulman, who was an early adopter of Internet technology as a tool for TM professional development and has a built-in heat seeking missile for "spotting a rat at 50 paces"

  • Range of worldwide experts who subscribe to the e-Network Forum and respond to question - Subscribers include Yanks, Canucks, Brits, Kiwis, Aussies, and more, including some of the "leading lights"

  • Participants may be identified or anonymous, but if the latter, enough information is divulged to specify location at a minimum, and often more such as profession and position

  • Easy to use interface, with an effective search utility

As the Annie Lennox "Sweet Dreams" lyrics go,
Sweet dreams are made of this.
Who am I to disagree?
I travel the world and the seven seas
Everybody's looking for something.

Some of them want to use you.
Some of them want to get used by you.
Some of them want to abuse you.
Some of them want to be abused.
If you subscribe to the CBBS e-Network Forum newsletter, you will not be used or abused. Without subscribing you can still access a fabulous resource for your every day transfusion practice dilemmas just by visiting the website..

For interest, there is another "Sweet Dreams," this one by American country legend, Patsy Cline.

Comments are most welcome BUT, due to excessive spam,  please e-mail me personally or use the address in the newsletter notice.