Abstracts: ESPGHAN-NASPGN 5th Joint Meeting
PEDGI is the internet listserver that enables pediatric gastroenterologists and hepatologists from around the world to communicate electronically with each other. Methods: Operating at the University of Vermont, the host computer (the listserver) receives and distributes electronic mail messages for the list of subscribers to PEDGI. No fee is charged for the service. Any subscriber can send an e-mail message to PEDGI; the message is then automatically, rapidly and simultaneously sent to all the subscribers. Nearly all of the subscribers are pediatric gastroenterologists, hepatologists, and their trainees; some subscribers are pediatric pathologists, surgeons and nurses. Results: Since it was established in February 1995, the number of subscribers has increased from 190 after the first year, to 380 after the second year, and to >500 at the end of 1997, with 10-15 new subscribers per month. Initially PEDGI was developed for members of the North American Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition. However, the percentage of subscribers from continents other than North America has increased from 9% after 18 months to 19% after 34 months. By December 1997 there were 96 subscribers from 22 countries in Europe, Australia, Asia, South America and Africa; 54 were from Europe. There are about six e-mails distributed each day, all in English. The content of the e-mails consists of questions about a difficult patient or puzzling issue(18%), replies to the questions (66%), as well as announcements of educational conferences, research projects recruiting patients, job opportunities and requests for names of physicians in other countries who could care for patients traveling there. The names and e-mail addresses of all subscribers are distributed quarterly. Approximately 64% of e-mails are related to issues in gastroenterology, 28% to hepatology and 8% to nutrition.Conclusions: The reaction of pediatric gastroenterologists to PEDGI has generally been enthusiastic. PEDGI appears to have considerably enhanced communication, promoted collegiality, impacted continuing medical education, facilitated patient care and stimulated international collaboration. It is hoped that continued expansion of PEDGI will further unify the global community of pediatric gastroenterologists and hepatologists.