8 tips to stay up-to-date with clinical innovations

Medical innovations and technological breakthroughs are rapidly evolving. This includes new and emerging treatments, devices, drugs, and other technologies that can make a real difference in patients' lives.

There are two main reasons why this information is difficult to sift through. First, busy schedules make it extremely difficult to carve out time devoted to staying on top of these changes. Second, the breadth of clinical innovation that takes place in a month, quarter, or year can be overwhelming. Even if physicians carved out time each month to get up to speed with these advancements, they would still find it difficult to explore every single new innovation that could have a positive impact on the patient care they provide.

Following are eight ways physicians can stay on top of clinical innovations so they don't miss out on unique opportunities to improve patient care and outcomes.

1. Set up Google alerts.
This is a simple step that can have significant benefits in terms of letting news come directly to you. This article provides several tips on how to take your Google alerts to the next level, including how to avoid generic or common keywords, create more than one alert, use filters, and more.

2. Follow thought leaders on social media.
Thought leaders or influencers who address topics relevant to you are great sources of information. When it comes to healthcare social media influencers who might touch on clinical innovation, this could include a range of individuals-CEOs of pharmaceutical companies, CEOs of health information technology startups, other physicians, hospital CEOs, even patients themselves, and a variety of other people in many different roles.

3. Watch the consumer space for non-healthcare innovations.
Though this won't provide you with specific examples of clinical innovation relative to your specialty, what it does give you is a preview of what could be coming next. This enables you to tailor your Google alerts accordingly and be on the lookout for relevant news stories. Healthcare consumerism is a growing trend in which patients have grown to expect the same types of technologies and experiences they can access in other industries. This could include a wide range of technology to monitor patient health, automate processes, engage patients, and much more.

4. Visit virtual exhibit halls.
If you haven't yet seen a virtual exhibit hall during a virtual conference, it's an interesting experience and can give you a taste of clinical innovation all from the comfort of your home. You'll enter a virtual booth where you may get to see a variety of videos and live streams of actual product demonstrations. These events tend to be more curated than in-person visits, without any overhead costs for travel. Webinars from trusted partners are similarly helpful resources to keep tabs on current trends.

5. Talk with your colleagues.
This may sound obvious, but during times of social distancing, physicians may be tempted to avoid networking opportunities where they would otherwise talk about the “latest and greatest” technology they're using. The good news is that many of these networking opportunities—including conferences—have gone virtual, enabling physicians to interact safely.

6. Read journals that curate resources for you.
Popular options include NEJM Journal Watch and the American College of Physicians' Journal Club. Both publications summarize relevant information and developments within a variety of specialties.

7. Adopt clinical decision support.
Clinical decision support comes in a variety of flavors and can help physicians with tasks, such as documentation, analytics, and more. It can also help them stay current with medical innovation. One example of this type of system is UpToDate, a service that provides evidence-based medical knowledge at the point of care. It boasts 54 doctors on staff who review more than 400 journals to curate the most important information physicians need to know. It also features more than 9,500 evidence-based, graded recommendations that an extensive team of authors, editors, and peers from around the world review, fact-check, and grade.

8. Check in regularly with experts from life science companies.
Life science experts can easily and quickly provide you with need-to-know information about new products that can directly improve patient care. MSLs, nurse educators, reimbursement specialists, and more can provide a direct connection to curated information that you need. This means you don't need to go searching for information; the expert will do the work for you to help you understand whether and how a new clinical innovation can benefit your patients and enable you to provide value-based care. Letting your life science rep know that you want to schedule virtual meetings as soon as new products or devices become available helps you stay on the cutting edge of clinical innovation.

About RxVantage - Lisa A. Eramo
RxVantage connects medical practices with critical life science information and resources to improve patient care. By harnessing the automation that powers the RxVantage platform, practices are able to modernize scheduling and communication to create flexible policies and get the information they need, when they need it. Click the following to schedule a demo.