doctor with patient

Game film: Video as a coaching tool in medicine

We ran across an interesting article by Dr. Bob Wachter on recently, and it reinforced something we think about a lot at ReelDx: the ballooning influence of video as an educational tool in medicine.

For example, the same way athletes study film of their (and their opponents’) performance to improve technique and prepare for games, surgeons are using video to rate each other’s performance, coach their peers, and reduce medical errors (and occasionally improve a golf swing). Another use case for video in health care is compliance, as shown in the hand-hygiene study detailed in the post.

At ReelDx, we’re most interested in the educational component. Being able to access videos helps medical professionals and students accelerate their training, because they can observe hundreds of cases in a fraction of the time it would take to do so in the normal course of their career. Observing another clinician’s technique can inform one’s own, in aspects ranging from procedural accuracy to bedside manner and taking patient history. “Soft skills” that can’t be taught in lecture halls but developed with clinical practice.

Dr. Wachter relates an anecdote about an intern who videotaped a patient’s grand mal seizure. The intern said “I wanted to record his activity…. So rather than describe to [the neurologist] what took place, I can just show them a video of what took place, and they’ll be able to assess better and treat the patient.” Similarly, a teaching moment can be captured to create a much more visceral & memorable experience than text or still images alone can convey.

And the KevinMD post brought up another benefit of video that’s easy to overlook: fewer onlookers in the exam room. In a peer-to-peer coaching situation, having one or more observers present during a patient interaction or surgical procedure can make for an awkward experience. Instead, why not get the patient’s consent (you’d have to anyways) for the video and review it with colleagues or students later?

Read the post for yourself, and tell us: Is video a valuable proxy for the in-person experience? Why or why not?


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