Chart Review: A New Carnival for Academic Medicine Blogs

Welcome to the inaugural edition of Chart Review, our new monthly feature where the editors at Wing of Zock highlight our favorite blog posts from the previous month. We focus on blogs about academic medicine, whether from the perspective of student, resident, faculty member, dean, or hospital CEO. Medical schools and teaching hospitals provide fertile ground for innovative responses to health care challenges. We are pleased to highlight some of the best here, and hope you will send us your favorites as well.

Baltimore to Beijing: Adventures in Global Health Care, Johns Hopkins Medicine

In his two-part post on Johns Hopkins Medicine’s International Partners Forum, Steve Thompson reports on the energy created in Baltimore as leaders, managers, care providers, researchers, and others came together to talk about improving health care. In Part 2 of the post, Thompson writes of forum participants sharing practices on patient-centered care, improved quality, and the dual-edged sword that is technology. We appreciated this post in particular for its concrete examples and multitude of links.

Scope: Stanford University

Lia Steakley’s November 20 post examines whether music therapy can benefit surgery patients. She reports on a University of Kentucky study:

“In examining the use of music before, during and after surgery, researchers found that listening to tunes during all three stages proved beneficial. Overall, patients who listened to music were less anxious, required less sedative medication, recovered more quickly and reported better satisfaction with their medical experience.”

Steakley consults other sources to conclude, “While some studies show that listening to classical music could yield the most positive results, the latest findings underscore the importance of taking into account patients’ musical tastes.” Patient-centered care strikes again, we say.

Vector: Boston Children’s Hospital

Crowd-sourcing is one of the most promising uses of connected computing and social networking: putting many minds to work on a single problem. In a post published November 8, Nancy Fliesler reports on The CLARITY Challenge, Boston Children’s inaugural attempt at crowd-sourcing. The single problem? Interpreting the genomes of families with unexplained genetic diseases, and investigating how to apply those findings to patient care. Twenty-three teams from 10 countries participated in the project, which sought genetic mutations that could be causing the diseases. The winning team hails from a teaching hospital, Brigham and Women’s in Boston.

“Genomic medicine—and patients everywhere—are also CLARITY winners. The challenge has accelerated the development of ‘best practices’ for genomic interpretation and return of results, which will be distilled in a scholarly paper to guide practitioners around the world,” Fliesler writes.

Academic Life in Emergency Medicine

This blog’s stated purpose is to give readers a behind-the-scenes look into the world of emergency medicine through the eyes of a team of bloggers, led by Michelle Lin, MD, associate professor of emergency medicine at the University of California San Francisco. In her November 16 post, Nikita Joshi, MD, an emergency medicine resident at SUNY Downstate, asks, “What is debriefing in simulation education?”

“Ultimately the goal of debriefing is to engage in a conversation where learning happens. It is an open format for discussion of the events that occurred, how we felt about it, and understanding the thought processes. It allows for identifying areas where perhaps knowledge or skill was missing so that it can be corrected in the future. So maybe debriefing is a little touchy-feely, but what’s wrong with a little human contact?!” she writes.

Other things we like about this blog: the collaborative shared responsibility for posting, the weekly post that consists of “Tweet pearls,” and the organized schedule that features different kinds of posts on different days.

33 Charts

The Association of American Medical Colleges’ (AAMC) Annual Meeting took place from November 2-6 in San Francisco and featured many fascinating keynote speakers who explored various aspects of innovation.

Among those speakers was Sal Kahn, founder of the Kahn Academy, whose keynote made waves in the Annual Meeting’s Twitter feed. What if academic medicine used the Kahn Academy method, better leveraging interactive learning, letting students take more control of their knowledge?

Bryan Vartabedian, MD, posed the question in a recent post, If Sal Khan were medical faculty member, would he get tenure? His guess at the outset is no, largely due to the bureaucratic red tape that exists in many academic medical centers—getting past an advancement committee.

Vartabedian writes, “The thousands of professional medical educators who witnessed Khan this weekend were blown away. It was the right message at the right time.”

Aspiring Docs Diaries

This AAMC-powered blog is new to the #hcsm community and chronicles the lessons learned in and outside of the classroom from the point of view of Devon Taylor, a first-year student at Harvard Medical School.

There is little doubt that learning in medical school goes beyond simply memorizing a set curriculum and regurgitating information. In the most recent post, Taylor writes about how “learning takes on an entirely new personality and philosophy.”

We like how this blog is frequently updated, the passionate and thought-provoking posts, and the blog’s conversational, open-minded nature.

Dean Katz’s Blog

Paul Katz, Dean of Cooper Medical School at Rowan University, blogged live from the 2012 AAMC Annual Meeting, chronicling the various keynote and plenary speakers, Innovation Arc sessions, and breakout sessions taking place over the full five days of the conference. Highlights include summaries and discussion of sessions such as “What Faculty Should Know About Social Media,” a mini workshop on expanding the role of social media. The panelists were three docs active on social media (and who often pop up our Twitter feed (@MedPedsDoctor @Kind4Kids @RyanMadanickMD) who cited academic research and anecdotal evidence in their social media journeys to gain a solid base of followers and how to best utilize Twitter chats.

Other things we liked from Dean Katz’s live blog: Brief summary of Eric Topol, MD’s, innovation keynote on the challenge of managing the information explosion in the medical field, managing personalized medicine, and how to leverage game-changing technology. Also, virtual tours of innovative uses of building space in multipurpose settings: Institutions such as Georgetown, University of Central Florida, Arizona, Ohio State, University of Nevada, and Michigan provided “fascinating virtual tours of simulation labs, libraries, educational spaces, gross anatomy labs … highly creative,” Katz wrote.

Kevin MD

Anthony Brenneman, PA-C, SW, is president of the Physician Assistant Education Association and a Clinical Associate Professor at the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine. Brenneman had a post on Kevin MD on the projected physician shortage and how all health professions must work together in order to increase quality of education and interest in primary care.

“Rather than jockey for hierarchy within the medical team, we should focus on the concerns we share, particularly insufficient numbers of educators and clinical training sites to teach and guide the next generation of health care professionals,” Brenneman said. “If we want to have a 21st century, patient-centered health care system where health professionals work as a coordinated team, we need to first reevaluate how everyone on the team is trained and educated before they work together as graduates. While each profession has its respective licenses and certification, and our roles and responsibilities to the patient can vary, we hang our hat under the same medical principles and ethics.”

We hope you’ve enjoyed this inaugural edition of Chart Review. As you’re trolling cyberspace and come across blog posts that intrigue or infuriate you—or at least make you think—we hope you’ll send them our way for our next edition. Send your nominations to Managing Editor Jennifer Salopek at

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