Estimated reading time: 3 minutes, 7 seconds

In the old days of medical practice, a doctor's office would have stacks of journals on the floor that seemed to follow her out the door and into her living room at home. These days, it's a doctor's mobile device that can get crowded with apps from multiple medical journals and an inbox can get slammed with email about late breaking medical research.

The Docphin app streamlines the research literature and news about advances in medical practices that doctors want to have at their fingertips.

The free app includes archives of more than 5,000 medical journals along with a Medstream of late breaking medical news. Docphin is used at more than 350 institutions in more than 15 countries by all types of providers and students including physicians, nurses, pharmacists, engineers, and scientists.

Getting Started with Docphin

At the Docphin website, a user can register for free and create a profile. Users must be affiliated with one of the institutions currently working with Docphin. If a user's institution is not a listed, a request can be submitted to Docphin to invite the institution to join.

For updates on the rapidly expanding list of participating institutions, visit the Docphin blog. Once logged in, both the website and the mobile app interface (Apple and Android) can be customized to suit the user's preferences.

The Docphin provider platform* allows doctors to create their own Personalized Health Information Network (i.e., the "phin" in Docphin). In addition to streamlining access to medical journal literature and news, Docphin also recommends content that's relevant to a practitioner's interests and trending among colleagues. Users can now begin to easily and intuitively search, share and stay up-to-date with Landmark Articles and Medical News.

Utility: Journals and Landmark Articles

The journal database can be searched by title, journal name, and/or author. Search results can be filtered by publication year, medical specialty and type of publication (clinical trial, review article, etc.).

Users can opt to refine the search only to PDFs or Free articles. The Docphin Web interface offers a preview of the types of articles and medical specialties available to users. Docphin pulls content from around 250 journals**, so about 5% of the journal titles indexed in PubMed.

The app developers utilize a team of Ambassadors (physician consultants) to determine the journals that would have the greatest relevance for users within a given specialty. An important caveat: Journal content provided through an institutional third-party provider such as Ebsco is not accessible through Docphin.

Utility: Medstream News Feed

For the Medstream news feed, Docphin draws news from content from over 250 Twitter feeds, including organizations such as CDC, AMA, and AAMC. Other feeds include individual medical pioneers and individual physician "influencers" as well as mainstream news feeds. Including these alternative sources of media helps residents and busy docs stay up-to-speed with the media patients are watching and reading—and which they may ask about in an office visit.

Additional Features

  • Set up alerts to receive breaking news on any topic or from an author the user follows.
  • Share PDFs via Twitter or Facebook.
  • Save PDFs to Dropbox, email to share with colleagues or patients.
  • Email and other alerts can be turned on/off in a user's device under Privacy Settings.
  • Articles can be 'favorited' and tagged for their user profile and for future searches.
  • iPhone Medstream 2014 update shows all updates in one view, including Trending articles, new articles in followed journals, and new articles in the user's Alerts.
  • The app was created in 2010 by a team of entrepreneurial physicians.

* Hospital Platform also is available.

Karen M. Rider, M.A. is a freelance writer with special interests in health psychology, healthcare news and integrative medicine. She also writes marketing copy for health and wellness practitioners across a variety of specialties.

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