Objective: Over the past 30 yr, the number of ACGME accredited specialties has quadrupled, and the number of journals cataloged on MEDLINE has doubled. Given this increase of information, this study sought to determine the amount and extent that pertinent journals are read by specialists in the field of physical medicine and rehabilitation.
Design: From a randomly selected list of board-eligible physiatrists and diplomates of the American Board of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 1204 resident physicians, fellows, and attending physicians were sent questionnaires concerning their reading habits. The questionnaire contained a list of 36 journals adapted from a list of journals previously published as being pertinent to physical medicine and rehabilitation. Physicians were asked to specify which journals they read over the past year and how extensively these were read. Respondents were also asked to note whether they participated in an academic or private practice and if they read as much as they would like.
Results: The results revealed that very few journals were always read thoroughly, with the modal response among the more popular journals being that of "always scanned the table of contents and read the most important articles." Academic physiatrists were noted to read more than their private practice counterparts. Of the subspecialists who replied, 67% read a journal pertinent to their subspecialty. Eighty-three percent of all respondents reported that they did not read as much as they would like.
Conclusion: Physiatrists are rarely able to completely read the most relevant journals in their field. When reading journals, most physiatrists only scan the table of contents and read the most important abstracts.