One of the major introductions of iOS 5 was Newsstand.

Newsstand keeps all your app subscriptions in one place and automatically downloads the latest issue in the background.

Until now, Newsstand has not offered any subscriptions relevant to medicine however that has all changed with the introduction of the British Medical Journal. We have previously reviewed the BMJ app noting that “The app itself is cleverly designed and an excellent example of a print journal converted into electronic form“.

At the end of that article, we commented on the future possibility of using Newsstand as an electronic distribution method and now it seems that this is a reality.

UK users who download the BMJ app from the iTunes store will now be pleasantly surprised to see a new subscription added to their Newsstand. Once the user has subscribed/logged in, the app will check for new downloads and automatically collect the latest issue on a weekly basis. The app itself has remained unchanged and is in the same format that we were so impressed with last time. For more information on the app itself, please see our review here.

This marks an interesting point in the world of academic journals. As more and more healthcare professionals use mobile medical technology to access their publications, so the demand for resources like Newsstand increases. The BMJ is paving the way ahead for many other respectable journals to follow in their footsteps. There are now a number of major journals such as Circulation, Neurology, and Anesthiology amongst others who are releasing an electronic version alongside their paper version.

However, none of these are taking advantage of Apple’s Newsstand. This means that the user has to remember to manually download new editions when they become available

Newsstand is having a huge effect on the publishing industry driving sales and subscriptions up to record levels-The NY Times indicated that their app download rate jumped to seven times the previous level. Using the iPad as a content delivery platform ensures that access to essential information is now quicker, simpler and most importantly easier than ever before.

By improving content delivery, the BMJ, Newsstand and the iPad ensure that the latest evidence based information is in the hands of physicians in the most important place: on the front line.

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