I work in an academic environment, where peer input on patient cases is a core value. Still, there are many barriers to putting this value into regular practice. For example, on my overnight shift in the ED, I may see a child with an unusual physical exam finding, or a set of complaints I haven’t seen before. Often the only timely diagnostic resource available to me is Google or another online resource. If I’m lucky, I may be able to turn to residents or medical students. If I’m very lucky, the diagnostic dilemma occurs during shift-change, and I can enlist a colleague’s input.
Physicians in other specialties often don’t have as many options, but they are no less in need of peer consultation – and there’s no reason they shouldn’t be able to receive it. The technology exists to enable secure, immediate sharing of case information – yes, including video encounters – for remote, peer review. The tools exist to break down our silos. The hurdles now are ours: We need to take that extra bit of time learn the tools that allow for such sharing, and adopt them in our daily practice; and we need to build true community around the goal of improving patient care. I’m committed to this change. Will you join me?