Journal Club at EMTLife

Journal Club

Journal clubs are an old tradition, often practiced at medical schools, hospitals, research institutions, and similar settings. Evidence-minded folks share recent medical literature of interest, then get together on a regular basis (beer is sometimes involved) to discuss the findings and analyze the methods with a fine-toothed comb. It’s a great way to both keep up on contemporary research and to hone your critical skillset for appraising the good, the bad, and the ugly in a published paper.

A few users over at the busy forums suggested a forum-based journal club, and I thought it was a splendid idea. So we’re giving it a whirl, and we’d love your participation. The first session went well, and the second has just been posted. Check it out!


Fighting the good fight for truth, justice, and the evidence-based way is tiring stuff. That’s why we’re always looking for folks to help out with the DRL. There are a whole lot of good studies out there — research people should be reading — that haven’t made it onto our virtual shelves yet, simply because your poor librarians are too busy to add them.

So we’re pleased to announce that a new member has joined our ranks. Derek Sifford is a flight paramedic from the southern US with a passion for progressive EMS; he’ll be helping out behind the scenes, reading and sorting and filing with the rest of us. Not only does he bring wit and wisdom to the table, his background in critical care transport will be particularly helpful for wading through certain subjects.

Say hi if you see him! Oh, and haven’t you been thinking about adding something yourself to the world of prehospital EBM? Drop us a line, because we need your help.

Howdy and Welcome

Welcome to Lit Whisperers, a new side-blog of EMS Basics.

Several months ago myself and several colleagues launched the Digital Research Library, essentially an organized index of peer-reviewed research useful to prehospital medicine. The goal was to make it easy — or at least possible — for the average EMT or paramedic to find studies relevant to their work, and use them to provide better, more evidence-based care.

The project has exploded, and continues to evolve as we find bigger and better ways to sort, codify, and bring together the wide world of medical literature. But something else happened, too. Because inputting a study involved reading it from cover to cover and analyzing it deeply for its methods, limitations, conclusions, and relation to other work, after going through a bunch of these, we started to notice things. You notice patterns, clusters between certain studies, and gaps where there should be more but isn’t. You notice odd results that aren’t trumpeted, but might have important ramifications. You get a pretty good grasp on the depth and breadth of what’s out there, and while some of that information was pumped into the library resources, some of it went nowhere, because our goal was to provide basic tools for objective research, not to share our opinions and personal musings.

So to make a long story short, this blog is a place to share our opinions and personal musings. All existing editors and librarians who contribute to the DRL can use this space to share whatever thoughts, observations, or points of interest they care to.

We’re humans and we have the same biases and fallibilities as anyone, and you’ll probably see those showcased here. There’s no posting schedule; take ’em as they come. But hopefully this soapbox will add some context and additional layers to your understanding of the research, and shine extra light that helps guide you somewhere good.