Get to know: Michele Klein Fedyshin, MSLS, BSN, RN, AHIP, FMLA

Research & Clinical Instruction Librarian

Health Sciences Library System, University of Pittsburgh

Special interview
Clinically Useful Journals: 2023 list update

A MLA committee conducted an in-depth analysis of the NLM’s “Core Clinical Journals” list. Commissioned by the NLM in 2015, the analysis resulted in an updated list of 241 clinically useful titles covering 80 subjects, renamed the Clinically Useful Journals list.

It turns out the list hadn’t been updated in 50 years, and clinicians and librarians were still using it for clinical searches and to build their healthcare collections. So, the NLM asked the Medical Library Association to produce a new list that is of “immediate interest to healthcare”. 

The MLA-NLM committee took an evidence-based approach, analyzing journal usage at 800+ US and Canadian hospitals and medical facilities. They used patient-driven indicators correlated with journal usage data to designate subjects and then usage to select the journals.

In this special interview, we discuss the process with Michele Klein Fedyshin, MSLS, BSN, RN, AHIP, FMLA, a co-author of the investigation recently published in JMLA

Curious about which BMJ journals made the list? Find out here

BMJ: The 50-year-old PubMed Core Clinical Journal list – renamed the Clinically Useful Journals list – has been redesigned using real-world data. Congratulations on completing this critical project and co-authoring the published investigation. How did you get involved?

Michele: I co-authored a study entitled, Evaluating the MEDLINE Core Clinical Journals filter: data-driven evidence assessing clinical utility published in 2014. The study found low usage of publications within the Core Clinical Journals list for hospital-based care. This provided an impetus to update the list. NLM approached MLA to convene a committee for the project.

BMJ: What was your process to determine the clinical subjects needed and then select journals from within those subjects?
Michele: Starting with evaluating what subjects the list needed to cover, we incorporated journal usage at hundreds of clinical sites with patient-driven indicators to designate subjects and then journals. Our statistician performed a correlation between the subjects assigned to our Patient-Driven Counts and the subjects of the journals in our usage study. This new list has a wider focus encompassing more healthcare professions. Since the new list can push clinically used journals to the first pages of results, it has been renamed to Clinically Useful Journals.

BMJ: How did you identify the new subjects incorporated, which includes Substance-Related Disorders, Medical Genetics, Nephrology, Anti-Infective Agents, Psychopharmacology, Palliative Care, and Sports Medicine, to name a few?
Michele: These were among the subjects generating most of the patient discharge diagnoses and clinical journal usage at the institutions studied. Public health goals and common medical topics also contributed to subject selection.

BMJ: What are the benefits and practical uses of the Clinically Useful Journals list?
Michele: The results of this project can be used by a wide variety of healthcare professionals to quickly find information applicable to real-world clinical questions. Healthcare providers and students can use the list to limit their database searches to the most clinically relevant journals.

With 75%-80% of the physicians in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom searching PubMed1, the potential increase in search efficiency from a clinically grounded journals filter is substantial. Time constraints present a major barrier to pursuing answers to clinical questions, especially when too much of the retrieved information is not clinically relevant1. The new filter could significantly reduce the time to select documents from a list of search results, increasing the likelihood of evidence-informed care.

Librarians can also use the data-driven list to create customized searches in PubMed.gov for their institutional clinicians to apply; plus, it’s a tool for journal collection development. Search efficiency is very important to librarians and clinicians alike. In an exciting development, an associate has devised a journal NLMID search strategy that runs in PubMed and is short enough to be saved as a Custom Filter. It is available at this link to copy and paste into your My NCBI Custom Filter box. Here’s a link to PubMed directions on Creating a Custom Filter.

BMJ: What are the next steps for the NLM to adopt this updated list and make changes to the PubMed search?
Michele: We don’t know how quickly NLM will adopt this updated list, but it is available as an appendix to our JMLA article as a search strategy to copy and paste into PubMed. It can then be saved as a saved search and reused. I know that this is already being promoted to library clientele.

It may take some time to boost awareness of the JMLA article, and we are very interested in promoting knowledge of it. I presented these findings during the MLA, SLA Annual Meeting in Detroit. A NLM rep was in the audience when I presented, and I spoke to her afterward. She seemed very interested in the project. I assume if they see a need for the filter, they will adopt it.

BMJ: Is there anything your librarian colleagues can do to encourage the NLM to adopt this updated list?
Michele: One way to make them aware of the need would be to write to the NLM Help Desk and indicate how helpful it could be to the millions of people who search PubMed daily. Narrowing down a search retrieval to those journals used most in clinical environments for that broad subject can reduce the time it takes to find clinically useful information.

About Michele
In her role as Research & Clinical Instruction Librarian, Michele conducts searches for Systematic Reviews, responds to questions about health sciences and patient care concerns from faculty and students, teaches database searching and sources for evidence-based practice, and serves as a liaison to the School of Pharmacy. She has also curated several LibGuides on Evidence-Based Medicine and drug information.

When she’s not hard at work, Michele enjoys riding her bike on the Montour Trail.

About the Library System
The Health Sciences Library System (HSLS) at the University of Pittsburgh offers a wide array of information services, educational opportunities, and resources in print and electronic format to faculty, students, and researchers in the schools of the health sciences (Medicine, Dental Medicine, Pharmacy, Nursing, Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, and Public Health), as well as UPMC residents and fellows. Read the August 2023 Library e-newsletter


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