Our rallying cry at ClickCare is: access, collaboration, and education.
Sometimes, people are surprised to hear that medical education is such a core part of what we do.
The reason? We've always felt that no solution within the medical system can possibly be complete or effective unless it also addresses medical education. Ultimately, there is no separation between excellent medical care and excellent medical education. So the fact that across medicine today, medical education is lagging so far behind innovations in the care itself is deeply concerning.
As Marc Triola, director of N.Y.U. Langone’s Institute for Innovations in Medical Education said in a recent New York Times article, "the gap between medical education and real-world care has 'become a chasm.'"
I’ll admit that reading this is deeply frustrating. There has been no time in human history when the gap between real-world care and medical education should be smaller. The tools and technology are there. And the need for excellent, powerful, progressive medical education has never been greater.
This article makes the further point that in many ways, we don’t need MORE healthcare providers (despite the realities of what’s effectively a shortage), we need providers in the right places, doing the right things.
I do agree with that. But where we deviate is the premise that technology should be like a more vivid version of book learning — in which students use virtual reality googles or 3-D simulations to learn.
As we move into a rapidly changing future, our job is not to use technology to make a “fancier” version of how we currently do medical education or medical practice. Our job is to use technology to reframe how we learn, how we teach, and how we care for patients.
It reminds me of a quote from Richard Buckminster Fuller:
“I am enthusiastic over humanity’s extraordinary and sometimes very timely ingenuity. If you are in a shipwreck and all the boats are gone, a piano top buoyant enough to keep you afloat that comes along makes a fortuitous life preserver. But this is not to say that the best way to design a life preserver is in the form of a piano top. I think that we are clinging to a great many piano tops in accepting yesterday’s fortuitous contrivings as constituting the only means for solving a given problem.”
So many of the ways we use technology in medicine are simply using piano tops to solve today's problems. We use telemedicine to replace in-person visits rather than changing how we interact and collaborate as medical providers. And then we use technology to make a more vivid version of the old medical training, rather than reconsidering what's needed today.
To me, the most interesting and powerful applications of technology and medical education are those that demand that training meet the most challenging aspects of care today. For instance, an inclusion of a more holistic view of the patient’s experience and what it looks like to care for them effectively. One example of this is a program at the Penn State College of Medicine where students serve as “patient navigators” after discharge from the hospital — giving them a sense of the complexities of coordinating care for patients in thoughtful, holistic, and adequate ways. Did that involve any expensive hardware or fancy tech? No. But it did potentially evolve our students' capacity for working effectively on behalf of our patients.
Similarly, we're passionate about using iClickCare to treat patients (via telemedicine and healthcare collaboration) but we also deeply believe in iClickCare's ability to support education through collaboration across the continuum of care (learning via the collaboration in each case) as well as the archiving of the collaboration process for each case, so that providers and students learn from key cases, even if they weren't involved at the time.
Each and every healthcare provider has the responsibility of caring for our patients. But we also have the responsibility of training and leading the next generation of providers -- without that, our efforts don't build upon themselves.
See how telemedicine can help improve medical education by trying iClickCare in your practice and teaching: