Strength in numbers: Crowdsourcing the most relevant literature in pediatric cardiology

Congenit Heart Dis. 2018 Sep;13(5):794-798. doi: 10.1111/chd.12669. Epub 2018 Sep 3.


Objective: The growing body of medical literature in pediatric cardiology has made it increasingly difficult for individual providers to stay abreast of the most current, meaningful articles to help guide practice. Crowdsourcing represents a collaborative process of obtaining information from a large group of individuals, typically from an online or web-based community, and could serve a potential mechanism to pool individual efforts to combat this issue. This study aimed to utilize crowdsourcing as a novel way to generate a list of the most relevant, current publications in congenital heart disease, utilizing input from an international group of professionals in the field of pediatric cardiology.

Design and setting: All members of the PediHeartNet Google group, an international email distribution list of medical professionals with an interest in pediatric cardiology, were queried in 2017 to submit literature that they considered to be most relevant to their current practice. A Google Form submission platform was used. The articles were evaluated by a multi-institutional panel of four experts in pediatric cardiology using the Delphi method via an electronic evaluation form until a consensus was reached regarding whether the article merited inclusion in the final list.

Results: In total, 260 articles were submitted by members of the PediHeartNet Google group. Expert review using the Delphi method resulted in a list of 108 articles. The final collection of articles was published on a publicly available educational website.

Conclusions: Crowdsourcing represents a novel approach for generating a high-yield, comprehensive, yet practical list of the most relevant recent publications in pediatric cardiology. The same techniques could be easily applied to any medical subspecialty. By enlisting the input of frontline providers, the value and relevance of such a list will be significant. A web-based platform for publication of the list allows for real-time updates to ensure continued relevance.

Keywords: crowdsourcing; medical education; pediatric cardiology.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cardiology*
  • Child
  • Consensus*
  • Crowdsourcing / methods*
  • Humans
  • Periodicals as Topic / statistics & numerical data*