One of the most-quoted eye-opening quotes in “Doc Tom” Ferguson’s e-Patient White Paper is this:
As Donald Lindberg, director of the National Library of Medicine, explains, “If I read and memorized two medical journal articles every night, by the end of a year I’d be 400 years behind.”
It’s in a section titled “Clinicians can no longer go it alone.” It makes the point that it’s entirely reasonable for engaged, informed e-patients to extend the reach of their clinicians, by seeking all the information they can find.
I just got a great update to that statistic. I’m at the annual ABIM Foundation Forum, and Maureen Bisognano (president of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement) just showed this:
27,000 published clinical trials per year. Can anyone possibly keep up with it, by relying only on what’s in their memory?
Then there are “case reports” etc – the many other published reports that people might find, to inform the best decisions:
Look at that: over 150,000 a year. 3,000 a week.
Here’s the epiphany that people need to understand, to let patients help:
It’s no insult to a clinician if a patient has seen evidence that the clinician hasn’t. There’s too much for anyone to know everything.
In a participatory, collegial, partner relationship, each partner welcomes information that the other has dug up.
Citation: Bastian H, Glasziou P, Chalmers I (2010) Seventy-Five Trials and Eleven Systematic Reviews a Day: How Will We Ever Keep Up? PLoS Med 7(9): e1000326. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1000326 Link: http://www.plosmedicine.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pmed.1000326