Do you miss old-fashioned journals at the medical library?

Back in the old days, one had to go deep into the recesses of a medical library, find a dusty, bound old journal, and photocopy the article you wanted.

But those days are over, as pretty much everything is available online.

Although certainly more convenient, Abraham Verghese laments the loss of camaraderie that the digital age of medical information brings. Indeed, as Dr. Verghese reflects with his typical eloquence, “I miss the hush of the stacks, the miasma that speaks of old books and collected wisdom, and how so often it was the book parked next to the book I had come to find that turned out to be the real treasure. Will I ever make that kind of discovery in a virtual library?”

Is the electronic age is removing the collegiality that used to exist in medicine? Doctors used to be able to mingle and interact while writing notes in paper charts, but now with both physicians and nurses able to log in remotely, or from other areas of the hospital, to finish charting, “‘information management’ in the hospital world has brought with it a certain isolation and solitude.”

A poignant observation.

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