Objectives Most physicians have received only limited training in occupational medicine (OM) during their studies. Since they rely mainly on one ‘general medical’ journal to keep their medical knowledge up to date, it is worthwhile questioning the importance of OM in these journals. The aim of this study was to measure the relative weight of OM in the major journals of general medicine and to compare the journals.
Methods The 14 091 articles published in the Lancet, the NEJM, the JAMA and the BMJ in 1997, 2002 and 2007 were analysed. The relative weight of OM and the other medical specialties was determined by categorisation of all the articles, using a categorisation algorithm, which inferred the medical specialties relevant to each MEDLINE article file from the major medical subject headings (MeSH) terms used by the indexers of the US National Library of Medicine to describe each article.
Results The 14 091 articles included in this study were indexed by 22 155 major MeSH terms, which were categorised into 73 different medical specialties. Only 0.48% of the articles had OM as a main topic. OM ranked 44th among the 73 specialties, with limited differences between the four journals studied. There was no clear trend over the 10-year period.
Conclusions The importance of OM is very low in the four major journals of general and internal medicine, and we can consider that physicians get a very limited view of the evolution of knowledge in OM.
- Occupational medicine
- education, medical
- periodicals as topic
- exposure monitoring
- computers and information technology
- healthcare workers
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Competing interests None.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.