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Elizabeth Cooney is a health reporter for the Worcester Telegram & Gazette.
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Monday, March 5, 2007

Faculty of 1000 Medicine interprets research

A new online research tool called The Faculty of 1000 Medicine aims to help researchers and clinicians make sense of the flood of scientific information available online. Tomorrow its 100 Boston members are invited to Dana-Farber Cancer Institute to discuss how its interpretive approach can help speed research advances along the path to patient care.

"The thing that's missing from a lot of online publications is the role of interpreter who is an expert in the field and who objectively puts things in the right perspective," Dr. Edward J. Benz, president of Dana-Farber and one of the hematology editors for the online resource, said in an interview. He and Dr. M. Rashad Massoud, senior vice president of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, will speak at the 4 p.m. reception.

In his role as an editor, Benz gathers colleagues who are experts in particular areas of hematology such as anemia or clotting disorders, relying on them to track their specialties and compile packets of information online. Users can supply keywords that will be used to send them notices of articles they might find interesting. Other editors do the same thing in other fields of medicine, sometimes writing commentaries or pointing to key points that may be overlooked.

"This is one of the many ways people are trying to accelerate the conversion of research knowledge into clinical practice," Benz said. "A multi-disciplinary awareness is important for seeing where the clues are that might not ordinarily appear in front of you if you keep your head down in your own area."

Boston has a high concentration of medical experts, but that doesn't mean they always see one another face to face, Benz said.

"The nice thing about the Web is you can do a lot of work from your desk, but you often don't meet the people who work in other fields," he said. "They might be three hospitals away. So this can be a way to get together face to face."

Posted by Elizabeth Cooney at 11:28 AM
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