Loose Connections between Peer-Reviewed Clinical Journals and Clinical Practice
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Many important advances in medical care are first reported in the biomedical literature, but physicians find the literature overwhelming and, therefore, are often unaware of advances. This article examines the ways in which peer-reviewed clinical journals contribute to this problem and proposes some solutions for both their editors and clinical readers. Peer-reviewed clinical journals impede the dissemination of validated advances to practitioners by mixing a few rigorous studies (communications from scientists to practitioners) with many preliminary investigations (communications from scientists to scientists). Journals wishing to improve communication with practitioners should feature rigorous studies of the nature, cause, prognosis, diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of disease and should feature sound clinical review articles (communications from practitioners to practitioners). Additional strategies for improving communication between medical scientists and practitioners include improving publication standards for clinical journals, proving more informative abstracts for clinical articles, fostering the development of derivative literature services, and enhancing practitioners' skills in critically appraising the medical literature.
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