New iPad/iPhone app “Docwise”

Although readers of my blog will be aware that I’m a big fan of the new RSS Reader Feedly, I sense that its use by the broader medical community may be limited by a general lack of familiarity with RSS technology in general.   A show of hands at a presentation I gave recently indicated that only 2 out of a room of about 20 healthcare professionals had actually heard of RSS.

I was therefore interested to learn about new app called Docwise which allows users to collect updates from their favourite health and medical journals without having to use RSS directly.

Docwise is an ejournal/magazine for iPad and iPhone which allows users to easily gather and display content from multiple medical journals, news sources and search terms all in one place. Once a user has registered their area of specialist interest on the app,  journals relevant to their specialty are offered for inclusion.  All recent articles from their chosen journals are then displayed in a nice clean ‘card’ format across the screen, along with some appropriately linked stock pictures (which help liven up the usual dull appearance of a short text summary of an article).

Screencapture of Docwise page taken from iPad Clicking on the relevant article then links automatically to the original article abstract on the journal website.  Where you are a member of an institution which has signed up for the service, it is also possible to see the full text of the article.  There is also an option to allow push alert which notifies you when the full free text of the article is available.

It’s possible to ‘favourite’ an article for later reading, download an article for reading offline, and add search terms (which will allow automatic searches across all subscribed journals).   It is possible also to share articles on Twitter, Facebook and by email.  The app tracks the amount of time spent using  and reading articles and allows this information to be collected by Docwise to produce a summary which can be sent to users.

The screen output is very attractive (resembling Flipboard), easy to read and navigating the various screens is very intuitive.  The great strength of this app is that it allows content to added without having to search for the relevant RSS feeds for relevant journals (the term RSS isn’t mentioned once).  It all works in the background. Although I appreciate that this app is new and that additional features and platforms (iPhone, Android and browser-compatible versions) will likely be added over time, I think it could benefit from a few additional features.  For example, a wider range of options for social sharing (e.g.Evernote, Buffer.app, Google Circles).   It would also be great to see what other people are sharing, i.e. ‘most tweeted’ or ‘most emailed’ articles for any particular journal.

Like many doctors,  I’m interested in a lot more than what is presented to me from medical journals or trade press.  It would nice to see some additional news sources added (e.g. from lay press – New York Times, The Guardian Health etc.) or the ability to add blogs.  The ability to subscribe to, or at least manually add, RSS feeds from other sources would also be welcome.  A more seamless way of making posts disappear from the feed once read would also a good addition.

Docwise will appeal strongly to healthcare professionals who want to keep up with updates relevant to their specialty without the nuisance of having to receive those ever so annoying table of contents emails.  At present it is likely to suit those who are happy to keep their information feeds exclusively related to healthcare but those with broader interests might have to wait a little while before more features are added. I’m looking forward to future updates.

Dr. Ronan Kavanagh MD, MCRP, Rheumatologist http://www.ronankavanagh.ie/