The landscape of orthopaedic education is shifting towards digital and wireless educational material. Textbooks and journals are rapidly being replaced by surgical videos, digital technique guides, interactive web sites, mobile apps, online practice test questions, recorded conferences and lectures, and more. With an increasing library of resources and a decentralization of reputable publishers, trainees and surgeons face a number of challenges when striving to keep abreast of the literature. The following list is intended to help guide your search for reliable orthopaedic electronic resources.
Currently the most comprehensive collaborative knowledgebase for orthopaedic surgeons, the site is sponsored by The Association of Bone and Joint Surgeons®. They have focused on generating content by leaders in their respective fields and motivated orthopaedic trainees. In addition, content quality is ensured by open-source peer review by health care professionals with an Orthopaedia® account. The purpose is to make Orthopaedia® the “most up-to-date, accurate and useful education tool in the world for musculoskeletal medicine and orthopedic surgery.” Sections of the site include:
- Individual articles organized by specialty, anatomy, or professional topics
- Reference information compiled from various sources
- Multimedia videos (over 400 as of June 2012)
- News information
The site allows for personalization of content and serves as an aggregator of many orthopaedic websites.
AAOS Ortho Portal (orthoportal.aaos.org)
The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgery has developed an online portal for access to their digital orthopaedic content. From a single site, users can search for resources that include JAAOS and JBJS articles, Orthopaedic Knowledge Online, CME topics, eBooks published by the AAOS, multimedia formats such as video lectures, eStudy resources for surgeons and residents (including OrthoQuiz for questions review and ResStudy). Overall, the site has an impressive amount of peer-reviewed literature and resources. However, the site is generally under-utilized by the general orthopaedic community, likely due to its non-intuitive user interface, limited free content, and competition with many of the other resources listed here.
Wheeless Online (www.wheelessonline.com)
This website has long been a favorite online reference among orthopaedic trainees and surgeons. One of the earliest digital resources available from a reliable publisher, the site is maintained by Duke University Medical Center's Division of Orthopedic Surgery and advertises itself as “the most comprehensive, unparalleled, dynamic online medical textbook in existence” with over 11,000 pages and 5,000 images. Topics are easily searchable and organized in bullet-point style with relevant references for additional information. The site appears to be intermittently updated; however, the majority of topics include the most “classic” information expected from trainees and surgeons.
AO Surgery Reference (www.aosurgery.org)
A surgical technique reference created by the AO Foundation, this website (also available as an app for iPhone, iPad, and Android) is focused on fracture management by providing the most recent clinical principles as they apply to the diagnosis, preparation, execution, and aftercare of orthopaedic trauma. The site is incredibly intuitive and available for free without a subscription or log-in. The visually appealing interface walks the user through fracture care while presenting treatment options and offering a plethora of images demonstrating patient positioning and outlining relevant anatomical considerations during the surgical approach. At each step along the process the user can obtain extensive additional reading topics. The site is easy and pleasant to navigate, which makes it a popular technique reference among trainees.
VuMedi offers free video lectures given by top names in the field. The site has a wide selection of topics, boasting 2,000+ videos as of June 2012 that are easy to access and search, with comment/post capabilities. Videos are not peer-reviewed and there is no organized quality control system for posted content. There exist concerns regarding conflicts of interest due to commercial company advertising and sponsorship of videos that promote particular products. Overall, the site is exceedingly popular, likely due to the vast amount of free material available.
A relatively new educational resource for orthopaedic surgeons, this website was created as a study aid for the in-training and board exams. The site includes an impressive library of bullet-point style facts for a number of topics and has incorporated an impressive collection of relevant OITE and board-style questions with answers and explanations. Because it was initially designed specifically for board review, topics are only superficially reviewed, with limited images and a focus on key testable points. However, if looking for a rapid review, this resource may be useful. In addition, the site has expanded to include surgical technique and educational videos. As of June 2012, the site included about 160 videos with a rapidly expanding collection. The site has teamed up with the Miller Review Course to offer reciprocal benefits to attendees of the board preparation course as well. Content is currently available for free with site registration.
Video Journal of Orthopaedics (www.vjortho.com)
Published in conjunction with JBJS, this site includes surgical technique videos available either through their website or via www.eJBJS.org with a subscription. Videos are presented and narrated by recognized leaders in their respective fields. However, only a limited selection of videos is available at this time (150 videos as of June 2012), with some dating back as far as 1987.
Although marketed as a social networking site for orthopaedic surgeons, the primary benefit is a vast library of digitally recorded lectures from scientific meetings. The collection boasts over 1,700 videos available as of June 2012. The focus appears to be on videos from orthopaedic shoulder courses at this time, with subscription costs structured either for individual courses or annual access to the entire website.