It has been a long week. I was at the STFM meeting in San Francisco. Over 1000 family physicians were there. This was the one-year anniversary of the release of the Family Medicine Digital Resources Library (FMDRL). It's been a slow road, but the software is really working well in no small part due to the hard work of David Ross. The greatest thing about FMDRL is what you don't see about it. The user interface is clean and it's very easy to use. Yet the base architecture of the application is very robust and will allow it to be maintained or extended fairly easily. This is in sharp contrast to many similar digital resource libraries such as Heal and MedEdPortal. Those applications are much more complex internally. Even small changes require programmer support whereas we built FMDRL so that nearly everything about it can be configured by a non-programmer. None of the categories or taxonomies are hardcoded.
This makes FMDRL a likely candidate for product-ization. Would medical schools, colleges or universities want to use such a system to support peer review and sharing of digital resources? I would think so. Indeed, the peer review system of FMDRL is as robust as the peer review systems used by professional journals. I'm trying to figure out how to evalgelize this in some way. The software is wonderful. It does things that no other software does: when a document is submitted, FMDRL reads the document in its entirety and make suggestions (often correctly) for MeSH terms. In the background, it's also finding SNOMED concepts. Very cool. There's a discussion that's attached to every resource. These discussions and act like listservs: It's a combination of a web-based discussion and a listserv. When it e-mails you (optionally), you can reply to the e-mail and your response will go into the correct thread of the discussion.
OK. Enough of that and Dave's genius. I'll get back to writing my progress notes