Proof of concept study to explore implementation of Medumail Alerts within a medical library environment.

What is Medumail Alerts?
Medumail Alerts is a service of Medumail LLC that takes user-specific keywords and search Pubmed® weekly.  If there are new matches to those keywords, an email is sent to the user with a list of the new citations.  Each citation has a link that currently goes back to Pubmed® where the user can read the abstract.  (See more at www.medumail.com) Medumail Alerts does not provide the full text of articles. You may be familiar with a similar alerting service offered directly by the NLM.  However, our program differs in some important ways.

  1. Working with our partner organizations, we are able to completely customize the look/feel of emails to brand it for you. This includes allocating space at the top or sides of emails as a means of announcing important events and services or of simply ensuring your library and its capabilities are well promoted internally. Consider that these emails will be seen weekly by your healthcare staff and therefore may represent the most frequent means of communicating with them.
  2. We have an "instant search" module that you can insert onto one of your web pages that allow users to test keywords before committing to them.  Importantly, your libary staff continues to provide expert assistance in selecting keywords that perfectly match the user's interests.
  3. Instead of linking to the abstract at Pubmed®, we can present the abstract on your library web site where the user can read and act upon it by requesting the full text directly from you.  The net result is an increase in the use of library resources and ideally will translate to more full text requests.
  4. We offer a full suite of analytics including tracking read rates for individual articles.  This allows you to quickly determine which journals are most important to your audience so you can make informed decisions about subscription plans.
  5. We have a great filter that allows users to return only results from the top 300 ISI journals, thereby improving the quality of the hits.

We have internal data from clients campaigns that indicate excellent acceptance of the product by healthcare professionals. Specifically, we enrolled 300 physicians into a 12 month campaign and emails were opened at a rate of 42% at the beginning and dropped to only 38% by 12 months suggesting durable acceptance of the medium and content. Users clicked on average 2.5 abstracts per email and 12.7 over the duration of the campaign (range of 0 to 446, SD=40). 98% of users remained in the program for the entire 12 months. Journal usage indicated a clear bias to certain titles over others and 68% of users chose to use the “top journals” filter.

What are we looking for in a partner for this project?
Any dedicated medical library with direct access to healthcare professionals of any educational background will be considered. Size is not a factor for consideration although the more potential users for the program and the better equiped a library is to provide the needed IT set up (see below), the more favorable that organization may appear. We will work closely with this organization and consequently want a partner that shares our enthusiasm for increasing article read rates in general and the basic premise of our product in particular.

How long will this partnership last?
We will work for a maximum of one year (ideally six months) under the initial no-cost terms of this pilot program with your organization or until the project and/or relationship is no longer mutually beneficial, whichever comes first. In other words, we hope that the project is successful and creates a meaningful service for your organization while providing us with valuable information. Should either or both of those positions change either party is free to leave the project and/or renegotiate the terms of the relationship. Note that there are no obligations, warranties or guarantees of any sort for either you or Medumail under this pilot and either party can dissolve the relationship at any time for any reason.

Commitments/expectations from our partner?
There will be some effort required by your IT staff and I would be happy to provide more details surrounding that aspect. The scope of work should not be considered major in terms of size. In addition, once the project commences, your staff would be tasked with signing users up from within your organization and helping them select keywords that fit their interests and return an appropriate number of new articles (neither too few nor too many on average). Finally, if our collaboration is successful and you derive benefit, we hope that you will provide simple testimonial that would enable us to expand in this space.

Restrictions, claims, etc:
Medumail makes no claims to any personal information, usage data, etc. from your audience. Specifically, Medumail will be unable to use any of it for behavior mining, reading habits, etc. We may however want some aggregate information such as how many people use the system, how frequently they open emails, and read articles. In addition, Medumail might want to know how often the system was used for document fulfillment requests and whether the reading behavior could help guide subscription selection.

About Medumail:
We're small and we're eager. Medumail is a two-man operation based in western NY. Mark Paris has a background in genetics and handles the marketing and product ideas. Kevin Galens MS has his degree in bioinformatics and built the platform and handles all implementation. Together they share a vision to bridge the gap between peer-reviewed knowledge and science/medicine.

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"I've spoken with hundreds of physicians throughout my career and have found very few that use any sort of recurring search service that pulls from Pubmed® or other. Therefore, the challenge isn't just building new tools. We need to get these tools into the hands of those that make healthcare decisions and we'd welcome the opportunity to explore this with your organization."

 

 

Mark Paris, Ph.D.
Principle and Cofounder
mparis@medumail.com