90% of radiology residents rely on two online resources for help during their on-call shifts

Nearly 90% of radiology residents now rely on two specific online resources for guidance during their on-call shifts, new data published in Clinical Imaging suggests.

There’s been a growing trend towards ramping up 24-hour emergency radiology attending coverage for trainees, yet some studies report nearly 65% of residency programs still lack overnight help. And those looking for quick assistance overwhelming turn to open-source website Radiopaedia and paid service STATdx in these situations, researchers reported May 6.

The authors say this is an extension of trends reported in the mid-2000s showing a move toward online-based resources within resident education. But they also found other important factors.

“The ease and speed of access of these resources appear to be the major attractions in pursuing today's online resources; and furthermore, these resources are perceived to be effective,” Ahrya Derakhshani, MD, MPH, with the Neuroradiology Section at UCLA’s Department of Radiology, and co-authors added.

Radiopaedia.org was launched in 2005 and houses more than 14,000 radiology articles and upward of 39,000 patient cases. It’s monitored by an expert panel and has become a go-to resource for imaging providers, particularly from low-income countries.

STATdx, meanwhile, is owned by publishing group Elsevier and is written by radiologists across various specialties. An individual subscription costs $2,300 per year in the U.S., according to its website.

To better understand residents’ usage of these resources, and others, the researchers surveyed fellows and residents from UCLA, New York University and Emory University. They received 78 responses for a 30.5% return rate.

Overall, 89.7% of rads said they use either Radiopaedia or STATdx as their first resource. Most turned to the open-access website first (70.5%) followed by StatDX (19.2%) and Google search (7.7%). Approximately 60% said they looked for information 6-10 times during their 10-hour shift.

The ease and quick access of these sources proved to be valuable for 75% of respondents. Additionally, 70% placed the likelihood of finding the info they wanted as 4 out of 5 stars.

Derakhshani et al. noted smaller community programs may not have the same access to paid services or habits as residents in large metropolitan institutions. But they added that the lasting effects of this trend should be further explored.

“When in the on-call setting, trainees are accessing the easiest and most rapidly available resources to help them answer a clinical question in real-time,” the authors concluded. “Further study is needed to understand the long-term educational impacts of these new information-seeking practices on the youngest generation of radiologists.”

Read the entire study here.

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