Being able to scan and read journal articles is integral to clinical practice and teaching. However, with so much information and new research available, sorting through the publications can be a daunting task. Even Orthopedics, considered to be a specialized field, has over 50 American publications and journals.
Dr. Jeffrey Wint, an orthopedic hand specialist in cooperation with Hand Fed developers created Bone Feed as a way for orthopedic surgeons at all levels of training to have access to abstracts from popular orthopedic journals using an iPhone. It is a good concept, but does the app perform?
In total, the app presents abstracts from fifteen different journals ranging from Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery to sub-specialty publications, Medworm (a PubMed portal), and Orthogate news. The app does not provide access to the full-text journal article, which requires the user have a subscription and online log-in for the journal’s website.
When launched, the app immediately jumps right into presenting abstracts.
The abstract can be quickly viewed in the app, and also can be shared via Twitter, Facebook, or email. By tapping the compass button in the top right, the abstract is presented from the journal’s website, where the subscribed user can log in and view the full article.. There is also an ability to view in Safari, or again share the journal.
At the bottom of the screen there are tabs to quickly access up to 4 journals, which at default are set to the JBJS (both the American and British publications), MedWormOrtho, and Orthogate. However, the user can customize the journals that appear on the home screen; a feature that really allows the user to tailor the app to their clinical or academic interests.
The app has some interesting potential. The busy orthopedist can quickly browse abstracts from multiple journals and then jump to the website for the full articles, while teaching faculty and residents can share articles for upcoming journal club discussions.
However, as the app is just in its first version, there are some kinks and bugs still present. Upon initially opening the app, any music playing on the phone cuts off, which is odd since there is no video feature to the app. The app depends on updated RSS feeds from the journals, and it is not clear who is updating these – for example the Orthogate abstracts are from June 2009. There is limited instruction on additional features of the app, such as commenting on an abstract (what becomes of the comment, who can see it?). Also the small screen of the iPhone may not be the best for viewing full articles.
- Free from the App Store
- Ability to customize
- Inclusion of significant and well-respected publications
- Oddities and kinks to be worked out
- Some features are not explained and seem superfluous
- A simple app with a good concept that can provide the busy orthopedist with easy access to most current journals and abstracts; BoneFeed can also be utilized by anyone interested in musculosketelal disease.
- As this app is in its initial phase, we would love to see the direction that Dr. Wint and Hand Fed take in future versions.