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BMJ podcasts now on SoundCloud

13 Sep, 13 | by BMJ

We are excited to announce that all podcasts from The BMJ and our specialist journals are now available on SoundCloud.

The idea behind SoundCloud is similar to YouTube – anyone can post their audio and share it really easily online. Whether through widgets on blogs and websites, or via posts on Twitter, Facebook or other social media sites, SoundCloud users can interact with what they are hearing better than ever before.

You can comment at a specific point in the track to add your thoughts to the discussion, share the podcast with your friends and followers, and see which podcasts or ‘sounds’ are most popular. Users can choose to listen online, or download apps to listen via their smartphones or tablets.

First launched in 2007, some 12 hours of audio are now uploaded to SoundCloud every minute. As of July 2013,  the social sound platform had over 200 million active users per month across the web and mobile. BMJ will be joining the likes of the Guardian, the BBC, NPG and many more who have already established a presence on the network.


Will medical apps be to healthcare what ATMs are to banking?

2 Aug, 12 | by BMJ

The mass adoption of smartphones among physicians has not only triggered an explosion of medical apps targeted at healthcare providers, it has also encouraged an emerging trend of health and wellness apps aimed at empowering patients. In fact, there are thought to be 40,000 medical applications available for download on tablets and smartphones, with the market still in its infancy.

Medical apps enable users to monitor health and encourage patient wellness on a moment-to-moment basis, instead of only during occasional visits to the doctor’s surgery. Some even replace devices used in hospitals and doctor’s offices, such as glucometers and high-quality microscopes used by dermatologists to examine skin irregularities.


Will Augmented Reality save print media?

28 Oct, 11 | by BMJ

There’s a notable scene in the film Minority Report, where a man reads a newspaper that updates in real time with breaking news. Whilst we are not quite at that stage yet, Augmented Reality (AR) is making use of computer visions algorithms in order to superimpose virtual information (2D or 3D, textual or pictorial) onto real world scenes in real time.


What BMJ iPad app users tell us

19 May, 11 | by BMJ

My blog about the iPad last month generated some interest, and this update outlines some of the feedback we’ve had to date. The move to make the app free to BMA members has generated some very positive reviews on the iTunes app store. We’d already had some nice comments about the app’s technical functionality, but the pricing issue led to a fair number of 1* ratings. more…

BMJ on the iPad

1 Apr, 11 | by BMJ

A chunk of our working week is now devoted to preparing the latest BMJ iPad edition so its appearance in the iTunes app store coincides with the thud of the print issue as it lands on subscribers’ mats. I thought I’d use this blog to explain how our processes have changed to accommodate our new product, and to gauge interest in seeing the BMJ on other e-reader/mobile devices.

But first, some history. The BMJ iPad app launched in early 2011. We are the first general medical journal on Apple’s tablet computer, and our focus was to respond to a wish from some international subscribers to get a sense of what the print issue looks like each week.We’ve been delighted with the feedback to date, particularly with the interest shown by BMA members. When we developed the app we assumed (wrongly, as it turned out), that interest from UK doctors would be limited. After all, most get the BMJ print and online as a BMA membership benefit. So our focus was getting the app live, rather than investigating ways of offering it free to members. The BMA is now offering it for free. You can find out more by reading these FAQs.

I’ve talked a lot about print, but our focus throughout was to make the app genuinely interactive, and it is this which takes up our time each week.

The print issue goes to press on Tuesdays, but many of the pages (research, practice, etc) are ready by Monday. So we meet to discuss what archive links to add to the iPad pages. These are the kind of connections we tend to make:

  • If an article is already online it may have attracted some commments, so we often find an interesting one to link to,
  • Other articles by the same author,
  • Previous articles in a series,
  • A relevant blog, podcast, or video,
  • A discussion on doc2doc, BMJ Group’s global clinical community

On Wednesdays, after the print issue has gone to press, we select images for the iPad and ensure they are the right format and size for the device. We then insert all the links we identified on Monday via a content management system, and quality assure the finished product on a test server before getting the issue live by Friday. This usually entails ensuring that links work that images look OK. News, blogs, podcasts, and videos are updated via a live feed, so they bypass the above process, but an end users always sees the latest each time they log in via a web or wifi connection.

The whole process now runs pretty seamlessly, so I imagine we will very soon consider if we want the BMJ on other mobile/e-reader devices. The iPad project means we had to stall our discussions on iPhone apps, or ones for othe mobile platforms. How might we cut the content cake for a phone app? We could, for instance, launch separate ones for news, education, research, and comment. Or we could be more creative and combine content from across BMJ Group products, adopting a similar approach as we have for specialty portals (see my previous blog). Amazon’s Kindle often gets talked about. Perhaps that’s a logical next step for us. It would be great to get your feedback.

David Payne is editor,

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