Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. is an interventional cardiologist, cardiovascular researcher and educator who pioneered our understanding of the “open artery hypothesis” as well our understanding of the importance of restoring flow downstream in the capillary bed in the “open microvasculature hypothesis” in heart attack. He is a Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and has led his own Academic Research Organization (PERFUSE) for 27 years. In addition, he founded wikidoc.org, the world’s most widely viewed open source textbook of medicine (2.5 million times daily, 896 million times annually). Gibson was named one of the world’s most influential scientific minds in 2014 by Thomson Reuters.
As a cardiologist, can you tell me about the innovations that have permitted your work to become more portable or convenient
It’s cutting-edge diagnostic material that’s exciting to me right now. One example is an iPad app that allows patients to get an EKG reading by placing their fingers on the screen.
What is WikiDoc and what is its overarching goal
I was concerned about the lack of access healthcare providers had to medical information, which is often behind pay walls. For example, a tool like Up-To-Date may cost hundreds of dollars to access. There are many doctors in developing countries that make under $50 a month and would have no access to this medical information. Our goal is to provide free access to high-quality medical information, which is also free of pharmaceutical company or medical device support. We now have 550K to 2.2M views per day and have many users from under-served countries; we feel we are achieving our goals. We optimize the content for mobile devices so that healthcare providers who can’t afford desktop devices can access on mobile. For example, instead of just dividing content into chapters, we divide it into micro-chapters so that they can load very quickly on mobile and require less bandwidth.
How do you think healthcare professionals should continue their education once they’ve started working in the field
Looking up information and anchoring it to a case helps solidify learning. At the same time, we have to make sure that doctors have a foundation in contra-indications and indications. This is not about the cases in the grey zone. It’s about clear black and white information around what doctors should never do or must always do. Everything else in the grey zone they can look up case studies on.
What advice would you give to other medical educators on how to improve the delivery of medical education
When educating and speaking to others, they have to be better storytellers and alter the way they speak. They can show emotion when they speak without being biased. They have to learn to sing with their voice and punctuate. We have a lot of teaching to do to make doctors better communicators.
How do you think the FOAMed movement has affected the healthcare industry
I think we’ve provided a new way for people to get the information they need, free of charge. I also think the print world is starting to understand that people have very strong views on the monetization of life-saving information.
How do you think technology can be adopted to encourage and increase the spread of new medical knowledge between healthcare professionals
The new generation will be faster with adapting to things like electronic records and social media for healthcare. The older generation will have more difficulty sharing healthcare information electronically. Hopefully the barriers to sharing information will be lowered and be less stifled by regulations like HIPAA. HIPAA is important to protect patients, but we should also be able to share information more freely.
You can visit the open source textbook Dr. Gibson founded here: Wikidoc
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