When you think of medical education and social media, it tends to be associated with medical school student and physician online communities or if you think gaming — medical simulators or video segments led by a physician. One startup has developed software designed to make continuing education for groups of physicians, nurses and other healthcare professionals more interactive.
Joel Selzer is a co-founder and CEO of Charlottesville, Virginia-based ArcheMedX. He’s a serial entrepreneur whose previous companies like Ozmosis use social tools to help healthcare professionals with collaborative learning and to communicate more effectively around clinical practices.
ArcheMedX provides software as a service and focuses on three learning formats: individual, small groups or cohorts, and larger collaborative networks. With the self-directed learning format, users can take notes, set reminders for themselves and run searches around curated content from an educational planner, download notes and share them with colleagues.
Cohort learning, for example, is developed to engage groups of up to 30 with collaborative assignments, timeline, calendar, accountability and expectations. The idea is users in this group will work together to answer their own questions and interact with faculty ahead of and after in-person medical meetings. The goal is for users to develop a better understanding of the seminars in the context of their practice and have more contact with other professional learners.
The company wants to replicate and expand the experience of attending an annual conference where people in a specialty see each other only once a year. A group of seven or eight might meet up, talk about some of the sessions, clarify things they didn’t understand and get into a conversation talking about things they learned from the sessions and expand it into a broader discussion about trends in their specialty. That’s the very kind of dynamic learning experience the company wants to capture.
Brian S. McGowan is a co-founder and chief learning officer, who has served as a medical education consultant and previously led medical education at Pfizer. He told MedCity News in a phone interview that the company is using the efficiencies of new technologies to overcome the passive inefficiencies of continuing medical education. “The question is can we build a learning architecture that leverages not just the social parts of learning, but accelerates the individual experience by making it easier for clinicians to take their natural learning actions?”
The company has developed commercial partnerships with 12 medical societies and medical education groups to offer the software to their members. Among them are the New Jersey Academy of Family Physicians, North American Center for Continuing Medical Education and MedEd Rules — a group that manages certified medical education activities for physicians, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, nurses and pharmacists. They have identified particular gaps they want ArcheMedX to fill.
With all of the social media platforms that exist and have become increasingly sophisticated since they were developed like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+ one might wonder why the company has not made use of them. McGowan has two words: “trust” and “control.” “If you don’t have 100 percent certainty over engagement, that will be a pretty huge barrier in any meaningful way. You have to ensure that the participants trust the environment in which they are engaged.”
[Photo Credit: Doctor using laptop from BigStock Photo]
Can introducing truly social communication tools into medical practice include some pitfalls? Aren't there some HIPAA considerations here? I'm all for creating conversations and opportunities to spread new knowledge through an organization, I just wonder at the problems that always seem to arise when new tech is introduced into a sensitive space like this.