Saturday, September 26, 2015

MedX | Ed Reflections

I am a medical educator and have been privileged to teach at the Indiana University School of Medicine as a faculty member for over 14 years.  I have had the opportunity to train many residents and students over the years, with the addition of focusing on faculty as well through overseeing the CME unit in recent years.  This is a privilege not taken lightly.  I feel strongly about trying to further my own professional development with respect to being the best teacher and physician I can be.  One such way to do this is to attend conferences relevant to one’s specialty.  I have attended many of these over the years, allowing me access to resources for networking and meeting other people who have similar interests.

Given my interest in emerging technology to improve patient care and education, I submitted an abstract to the MedX | Ed conference this year, and was pleased to have been accepted for an oral presentation related to lifelong learning and emerging technology.  I have watched the MedX conference via the live stream over the past few years, but attending in person—WOW!  What an inspirational two days!

There were so many different things to learn, and this short blog doesn’t truly do it justice; nevertheless, I will give just a few highlights that stick out for me.  Some were about newer technologies, such as what Dr. Neil Mehta presented on how to integrate technology with information management.  Some were about interprofessional education, which makes me excited when I see that the CME/CPD community has been really emphasizing the importance of this over the past several years.  Some were about connection and human touch (I expected to enjoy Dr. Abraham Verghese’s talk, but was inspired beyond my wildest dreams) to show empathy with patients.  Some were medical students themselves creating startup companies to improve medical education (Picmonic and Osmosis).  Some were about shifting the paradigm and creating curricula on updating topics related to medicine on Wikipedia.  Some were about storytelling (both from learners themselves and from patients; INCREDIBLY powerful), which I emphasize but am convinced I must emphasize even more [and for the record, YES, CME/CPD conferences SHOULD be providing MORE patient panels to hear more about the patient perspective].

This is truly a one-of-a-kind conference!  I thought I tweeted a lot during meetings (see my recent reflections on Tweeting the Meeting here and here, but wasn’t even close to some of the influencers in complete “status tweeticus”.  I thought I blogged quickly, but others created wonderful blog posts within hours and even live.

It was also great to meet many of these folks in real life (although I admit I could have been better).  In addition, through the power of social media related to this conference, I was contacted (while in the airport heading to the conference) for my opinion on a story about skills that physicians of the future need to have, which was published on day 2 of the meeting.  

A hearty “Thank You” to Larry Chu and the entire MedX | Ed team for putting on what I think is the most innovative conference I have ever had the privilege of attending.  To solve some of the current problems in healthcare, we need more than just doctors, and this conference delivered on describing some real solutions!  I hope to attend again in the future, and look forward to seeing and meeting new folks in future years.

P.S. Yes, my own presentation did include descriptions of emerging technology, storytelling, and how innovative methods of education can influence the learning process and potentially patient care!

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Physician Leadership and Lifelong Learning

I haven’t been posting much recently, with valid reasons.  I began a Business of Medicine MBA Program at the Kelley School of Business, and have homework, readings, and assignments that have immersed me in new subjects.  I absolutely love being a student again!  The lifelong learning which I enjoy writing about is alive and well, and I feel invigorated with the opportunity to learn new subject areas with other like-minded physician students who are in this with me.  The class demographics are quite diverse and reflect different specialties and reasons for choosing to enroll in an MBA program designed for physicians.

In one course, Healthcare Revenue and Delivery, we discuss issues relevant to healthcare today.  We had the opportunity to delve into the implementation of learning healthcare systems, and also physician leadership and engagement.  Some key takeaways are critical and reflect some of the educational curricula that are being updated both at the medical school level and also at the residency level.  These takeaways are challenges faced by physician leaders of the future, but should be tackled if we are going to actively address healthcare in the current environment.

First, team approaches to solving problems usually are better than just one independent voice making decisions in a unilateral manner.  We absolutely see this in the training environment, where some trainees function at a very high level when working with others health care providers, and some need more guidance with respect to understanding team dynamics.

Second, asking questions is probably just as important as (and maybe more important than) having the answers.  This gets at not necessarily being the “captain of the ship”, but rather a facilitator of others.  Much learning goes on when leaders listen and ask questions!

Third, leaders need to leverage external innovation (partnering with others who have expertise different from one’s own) as a valuable asset to move an organization forward.  We all can’t be experts in everything!

Fourth, it is important to make the mission and vision of an organization real.  Sometimes this means saying “no” to something that is in direct conflict with one’s values.  Constant reminders of the mission are always helpful when making key decisions.

There were many other points made, but these resonated with me as important aspects to take away during our first few days.  I anticipate more posts as a result of these vibrant, healthy discussions about healthcare, including not only where it is but where it is going!