By: Sumeet Banker, MD, MPH
Pediatrics is the official peer-reviewed journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and is widely regarded as one of the preeminent journals in the practice of pediatrics. It is the top-cited pediatric journal and the app “Pediatrics Digest” allows clinicians and trainees to access its content on-the-go.
This app digests print and online articles from the monthly publication and provides summaries and abstracts of 10-15 early release articles each week. It allows shrewd readers of pediatric literature to access summaries, abstracts, and full articles without the heft (or extraneous pharmaceutical advertisements and job listings) of the 200+ page print journal.
From the home screen, clicking on the “Articles” tab produces a list of article titles sorted by date.
Choosing a specific article shows a brief two-paragraph summary which is drawn from the “What’s Known on this Subject” and “What this Study Adds” sections included at the start of every Pediatrics article.
This information is very helpful in making the “relevant-to-me or not” decision that is so critical when browsing journals of such broad scope. Summaries can be emailed to friends and colleagues easily from this screen, and a direct link takes you to the full abstract.
This abstract is available to all users. However, in order to access the full text or PDF version from this page, an AAP membership (individual or institutional subscription) is needed. Once logged in, the full-length article may be read in-app in its familiar Pediatrics format.
Another way for individual subscribers and AAP members to access abstracts is by viewing the Digital Edition, which contains all articles from the current issue.
This listing shows full titles and the first few words of the “What’s Known” column. For those who have a membership, this view is more user-friendly than the “Articles” tab from the home page which only provides titles, most of which do not fit in the allotted space.
Clicking on the title links to a screen that includes the summary (“What’s Known on this Subject” and “What this Study Adds”) in addition to the full abstract. This information is included on the first page of any Pediatrics article. This screen toggles between a text version and the page screenshot version as it is seen in print.
Again, from here the full article can be accessed by following the appropriate link in the app.
Another benefit of the Digital Edition is the search function that allows you to search articles in the current issue by keyword. It also gives you the option of viewing a table of contents with titles sorted by article type (review articles, primary research, commentary, etc).
There are a few points for future improvement in this app. As the folks at Apple like to say, a well-designed app will get the user from home screen to desired content in two clicks – this app takes six clicks to get to the actual article. In addition, displaying a PDF on the iPhone isn’t exactly the best use of the platform.
Overall, this app is very useful for the clinician or trainee who wishes to have quick and easy access to abstracts from the latest issue of Pediatrics without having to flip through the pages of the journal. Scrolling, scanning, and searching also allow readers to quickly find relevant articles to their practice. This is an instant time-saver, unless you are one of those people who prefer spending cold winter nights curled up by the fireplace, reading medical journals cover-to-cover (we’re not judging you).
- Convenience, easy to use
- Free abstracts for all users
- Customizable favorites list
- Digital Edition for subscribers – search feature and Table of Contents with articles sorted by type
- Navigability – high number of steps (6 clicks) to get from home to article via Digital Edition; back button may take you 3 steps back
- Inability to scan full titles from “Articles” page
- Subscription/AAP membership required to access Digital Edition
- Clunky design, not visually appealing
- Pediatrics Digest is a potentially useful app for clinicians and trainees providing care to children who wish to stay updated on the latest evidence and opinion from the most-cited pediatric journal in the field.
- Though the design lacks appeal, the convenience and functionality allow readers to scan titles and abstracts for relevance much quicker than in the print version, essentially making it easier for providers to find current articles that will change the way they practice.
Check out the app on iTunes here
Texterity released an app called simply Pediatrics which presents the Digital Edition in new and appealing format. This app will soon be reviewed.