Confessions of a Tech-Challenged PT: Sweet (Evidence) Dreams Are Made of These
By Stephanie Miller, PT
Want to know how tech-savvy I am? I'll give you a couple of clues. First, let's just say it's been "a few" years since I graduated from PT school. Second, I don't have TV or Internet at my house. So when it comes to technology, I know that I probably have a lot of … catching up to do.
I never wanted my non-techiness to stop me from progressing in my field, though. I didn’t want it to be a barrier. But to be honest, it was.
I’d see a patient with a diagnosis or procedure I hadn’t encountered for a while, and I would want to find the latest information and research on the topic. I’d type a few words into a search engine, cross my fingers, and hope I got something. Either I got no relevant results, or when I finally found a gem of an article it would tease me with the abstract, then take me to a subscription page. (And the worst was when that new page wouldn’t allow me to get back to my original search, no matter how many times I clicked the Back arrow.) To find a full-text article that I didn’t have to sell my soul to get was nearly unheard of. Then, if by some slim chance I did find one, I often wanted to find another article that was referenced within it, only to start the self-defeating process all over again. I found it completely frustrating, and after hours of searching and bouncing around from site to site, I would still come up nearly empty-handed.
I kept wondering, why couldn’t someone come up with an easy-to-use, one-stop shop? Well, they did. It's called PTNow, and, best of all, it's free to APTA members. It has changed my world as a health care professional and I hope that it does the same for you!
I’ll dive deeper into all that this site offers in future blogs. But just to give you a taste, you have access to: various search engines, clinical practice guidelines, free full-text articles from tons of publications (yes, I said free), access to and permission (yes, you read correctly, permission!) to use various tests and tools for patient examination, and clinical summaries. There's a new point-of-care resource called the Rehabilitation Reference Center that delivers need-to-know-now information. And there’s even MyPTNow, a space for you to save searches and clinical collections for future access. But I don’t want to get ahead of myself, and, honestly, I’m still learning all of the new features.
You know as well as I do that our treatments and documentation are being subjected to more and more scrutiny. I can’t see that lessening in the future. To continue to justify that we give the best care (as we know we do), we need the research, tests, and quality measures for support. PTNow is a great, easy-to-use place to find them.
I’m looking forward to bringing you more tips and tricks in the future, as well as learning and growing with you along the way. In the meantime, I challenge you to try out the site until you hear from me again. If you’re intimidated by it, don’t be: there’s a great tutorial video that will walk you through some basics, and there’s even access to a librarian who can assist you with questions along the way.
Take it from me, one of the most un-techy people you'll meet: this is something worth plugging into.
Stephanie Miller is a staff development specialist with Celtic Healthcare.
Explore other posts from the "Narrow the Gap" series.