An Online First for Canadian Family Medicine

TORONTO Apr. 26, 2013

Today, the Department of Family and Community Medicine (DFCM) at the University of Toronto launches a website called DFCM Open. Inspired by open knowledge and collaboration initiatives, such as the open source software movement, DFCM Open will collect and store clinical, educational and research material that is created, peer-reviewed and voluntarily submitted by its faculty members and their collaborators. Presented in a state-of-the-art website, DFCM Open will provide a wide range of Canadian content focused on family medicine and primary care.

DFCM is believed to be the very first academic family medicine department in the world to create and open such a repository to the world, providing resources locally and globally, while fostering, sustaining and expanding scholarship and academic activity at the Departmental level. The work found in DFCM Open will continue to build upon the DFCM’s international reputation for clinical, educational and research excellence.

A community family physician from Barrie, Dr. Robert Gabor, is a DFCM faculty member. “What’s important to me as a family physician is having access to a set of tools and resources that are relevant and in one place – from guidelines, to teaching aids, to care pathways, for example.”

DFCM Open is a resource especially for family physicians and primary care health professionals, no matter where they live or practice. It provides community family physicians with a connection to professional resources; and it is free to use.

DFCM Open has its busy users in mind with functions like the bookmark feature which allows a user to save and revisit items on any device. By adding DFCM Open to an EMR toolbar, users can have quick, in-clinic access to their bookmarks instead of relying on their browser’s favourites. To stay informed of new and updated content added to DFCM Open, users can sign up for email alerts. And in sharp contrast to the complicated interfaces of library catalogues, research databases and online journals, DFCM Open raises the bar for ease-of-use through its simple and user-tested interface.

Users find material in DFCM Open by browsing categories, selecting from ordered topic lists or simply searching with keywords, Google-style. Materials include tools like clinical decision aids, calculators, order sets, mobile apps, and teaching, evaluation or research aids. Resources available also include guidelines, articles, reviews, reports, manuals, one-pagers, care pathways, clinical directives, EMR resources, lectures, seminars, workshops and patient education materials. Tools and resources exist in a variety of formats, such as documents, PDFs, spreadsheets, videos, audio or images. They can also be web links.

“Much more than an online binder or filing cabinet, DFCM Open is a platform from which family medicine can take flight, starting with our faculty members and extending around the world,” says Dr. Lynn Wilson, Chair of the Department of Family and Community Medicine.

“We want those in low resource settings to have access to the best of Canada’s family medicine resources; and our hope is that others will visit, learn and be inspired to take their own innovative work to the next level – and then share it,” she says.

Media Contact and DFCM Open Co-lead:

Danielle Wintrip
University of Toronto, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Family and Community Medicine