As biomedical technicians, imaging engineers and clinical engineers, we are always in need of information, skills improvement, and various resources to assist us in our professional and private lives. Just-in-time education is all the rage. People reach out to obtain information when they need it. But knowing where to go is essential. Below are 10 of the best resources that I use regularly:
1. www.1TechNation.com: A recent innovation by MD Publishing, TechNation combines the best of many parts of the biomedical community. Although it’s a social networking site, similar to Facebook, it also has a ListServ like BiomedTalk. But TechNation also has a slick landing page and a slew of features, such as an automated request-for-proposal process, a place to vent about difficulties with OEMs, and a number of educational videos of presentations from past MD Expos. Click on the “Resources” tab for member offers and shop talk tips.
2. www.AAMI.org: The Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation (AAMI) will be glad to sell you a membership; but even if you’re not a member, there are lots of free things at the AAMI Web site for you. From certification information to schools offering BMET education, the AAMI Web site is the place to go. An often overlooked section that contains lots of helpful information is under the heading “Communities/TMC Connect.” It’s here that you can locate local associations, discussion groups, and many other BMET resources.
3. www.makeuseof.com: MakeUseOf is a collection of articles, guides and resources, ranging the gamut from art to technology to useful computer programs. Don’t go to this Web site when you should be working – you may burn up more time than you intend.
4. www.linkedin.com: LinkedIn is the preeminent social networking site for business. You can connect with people you know, and then will have access to their contacts. For example, I have 377 first-level contacts, but I also have access to more than 15,000 second-level contacts and more than 1,167,900 third-level contacts. LinkedIn can be useful for connecting with decision-makers and making friends all over the world.
5. www.MedWrench.com: MedWrench is a relatively new resource and sharing network for medical equipment users. You can get answers, find information, and read what others think about the equipment they use. Plus, it’s free to join and easy to keep informed. MedWrench depends upon user input about not only satisfaction with, but also repair information about certain medical devices.
6. www.DumbLittleMan.com: The subtitle of Dumb Little Man is “Tips for Life.” This site truly contains helpful “how-to’s,” tips and tricks, and techniques for all aspects of life. From finance to sales, to do-it-yourself to health and fitness, you’ll find what you need to know on Dumb Little Man.
7. www.slideshare.net: SlideShare is a place where people from all over the world and in all different professions can upload their PowerPoint presentations for everyone to see and read. Most are downloadable and even editable. I use SlideShare for three main reasons: 1) to learn what makes an effective presentation (what to do and what not to do), 2) to learn new skills and information, and 3) to get ideas for my own presentations.
8. www.TechRepublic.com: Tech Republic bills itself as a resource for IT professionals. I find information here about networking, software, operating systems, and anything IT related. But it doesn’t stop there. Tech Republic also has articles on training, Webcasts, white papers, and a wide variety of free downloads. Tech Republic’s newsletter is also outstanding. In fact, it was there that I first got the idea for the “10 Things” series of articles.
9. http://bmet.wikia.com: The BMET Wiki is a Web site that counts on contributions and information by the members of the profession, similar to Wikipedia. Anybody can edit or add information and make comments. Unfortunately, there is little activity right now, seemingly because most people are sitting back and waiting for somebody else to add content.
10. BiomedTalk: I’m amazed by how many people I encounter who either don’t know about BiomedTalk or refuse to be a part of it, even though it has been around for 13 years. For those of you who aren’t familiar with this resource, let me briefly explain. Biomedtalk is a primitive, but very effective, way for biomeds to communicate with each other. First, you join as a member by going to www.BMETsOnline.com.
After you’ve joined, e-mails start appearing in your inbox. You may send any question to Biomedtalkfirstname.lastname@example.org, and you will receive one or more answers to it. Again, BiomedTalk has no Web site, and the archives are difficult to search, but it’s an extremely beneficial resource for requesting biomedical information. (Note: BiomedTalk was recently sold by its owner and creator to the ECRI Institute. Most members, including myself, are holding our breath to see what changes – either good or bad – might be around the corner.)
Send me any other of your favorite Web sites. I’ll pass them along.