Sunday, September 7, 2014

Connecting from Afar: 2014 Stanford MedX

The 2014 Stanford MedX conference is going on this weekend at Stanford.  I was not able to attend (mostly due to time pressures and the fact that there are other medical meetings which I am attending this week).  In fact, I’m headed to Washington DC in a few days, where, along with Kathy Chretien and Ryan Madanick, I’ll be giving a presentation at Academic Internal Medicine Week to internal medicine educators about how to effectively use social media. 

The MedX conference sounds like a phenomenal meeting for participants to learn about the intersection of medicine and emerging technology, where the patient voice and experience was highlighted.   An announcement was even made that for the 2015 conference next year, the meeting will feature medical education as a theme.

Many people whom I respect and follow on social media networks are at the 2014 MedX conference currently, both presenting and sharing content.  There is even a live stream from the main hall that can be viewed by anyone, whether in attendance or not.  That is really cool.  I was able to view this live stream for a short while yesterday and contribute to the meeting from afar via intermittent tweets.

The Friday event had over 13,000 tweets, which is amazing.  This morning, I am still trying to catch up on some of the tweets from both Friday and Saturday.  One of the sessions which was not streamed live, but tweeted heavily, featured technology and social media within medical education.  Several well-known “tech enthusiasts” within medicine were presenting sessions there, including Bryan Vartabedian and Warren Wiechmann.  I feel somewhat knowledgable about the topic, as these two icons were the keynote speakers at our first two “Mobile Computing in Medical Education” conferences the past two years.  Other influencers like Susannah Fox and Wendy Sue Swanson, whom I still have not met in person, are influencing the crucial conversations that abound at such vibrant meetings. 

I’ve written several posts about tweeting medical meetings in the past, and am fascinated with this as a way to disseminate information to others.  It is innovative that MedX is live streaming the main stage for anyone, regardless of whether s/he registered or not.  What a great way to connect with others who could not be present this weekend in California!  Kudos to Larry Chu and others at Stanford for a great meeting and for the ability of non-participants (a better term may be “indirect participants”) to connect.  Sorry I could not be there in person, but I’m certainly there in spirit!

I realize this post is not doing justice to the many other wonderful people contributing to MedX and from whom I am gaining innumerable insights.  Thanks to all for your presentations and your tweets!

Friday, September 5, 2014

Curbside Consultation and Hallway Conversations

“Curbside consultation” is an interesting term in medicine.  There has been an increasing interest in this term in the recent medical literature, specifically as it relates to patient care in medicine.  I myself have often pondered how much one learns from curbside consults.  I know that some specialists may frown upon them because of the potential for some to document recommendations in the chart without a “formal” consultation.  As a primary care physician, I enjoy the camaraderie associated with a curbside consult, and in turn, try to help my colleagues out when they ask me a quick question.

The other day, I was on the way from my administrative office to my clinical office where I see patients.  Just outside the parking lot, I saw a colleague I had been meaning to call but just hadn’t gotten around to actually contacting.  In a five-minute conversation, I was able to get so much more helpful information about the topic at hand, and helped my colleague in understanding a concept with which he was not familiar.  For the record, this actual conversation took place on the sidewalk, right next to the curb.  If there was anything that was truly “curbside”, this was it!

I wonder how much one can actually “learn” from a curbside consult?  In my example described above, I can honestly say that the “worth” of that curbside consult is much more than that of a one-hour “lecture” on the same topic by an expert.  I’d be willing to say that my colleague felt the same.

The same concept can be applied to “hallway conversations” at regional and national meetings: the energy disseminated from a brief conversation with a colleague is itself a wonderful opportunity for learning for all (including disseminating to others who may not be a part of the conversation).  So the next question becomes this: “If it is so helpful, how do we value curbside consults/hallway conversations?”  I don’t know the answer, but it is certainly worth exploring.  Yet one more thing ripe for future study!

Special Thanks go to Dr. Peter Schwartz, my colleague referenced above.