Friday, May 11, 2012

Stanford Med using Khan Academy tactic to improve physicians collaboration and learning

Techcrunch has a great piece on Stanford medical school flipping its didactic model so that students listen to lectures at home and collaborate on problem solving projects in the classroom. Techcrunch posits that this is more innovative than Harvard and MIT posting their lectures online; I agree.

Having sat through hundreds of laborious hours of monotone recitations at the University of Maryland Medical School, I can attest that lectures are not an efficient nor effective method for transferring information to students like me. Watching videos at home allows each student to play, pause, and repeat any portion at any time without any embarrassment or guilt. If there is a word or an idea that isn't clear, the student can pause and research something immediately on the web, and gain the appropriate contextual understanding that allows for real learning - this isn't possible in a live lecture.

Using classroom time learning to work with other students on complicated medical issues instills a very important skill which is all too lacking in current medicine: collaboration. Too often patients come to me in my ER and it is evident to me that the patient's four physicians (eg internist, cardiologist, gastroenterologist, oncologist) have not really been talking to each other, that each of them is changing the patient's medicines without consulting the others in real time. The patient is left alone trying to make sense out of sometimes conflicting recommendations. Mayo clinic understands the importance of real time collaboration of physicians, and it's major success, I would argue, is based on this core feature.

Some companies recognize the critical nature of the current broken communication system for physicians, not made easier with the tremendous boundaries erected by HIPAA. It is great to see innovative companies like TigerText creating new and improved methods of communication for doctors.

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