TASME was proud to support The HLA-Medics.Academy Summit 2021 on the 29-30th May 2021. The summit sought to deliver the very best of medical education innovation to a local and global audience. The conference started with lessons from yester years from Professor Dame Praveen Kumar from ‘Kumar and Clarke’s Clinical Medicine’ on the changing role of the doctor. Kumar described the paradigm shift that has seen clinicians pursue a more varied portfolio career, instead of the traditional tunnel vision clinical route. She explained how burnout and the increasing preference for more flexibility is causing clinicians to pursue a variety of career options.
On the innovative platform frontier, PlasticsFella shared their journey of setting up an open source educational model that delivers plastic surgery education through podcasts, evidence based journal articles and interview preparation. As more content was added, the number of users grew significantly. Premium features generate revenue for their platform which is used to maintain and develop the resource. Currently with over 5,000 users a month, it illustrates how sustainable and successful the open source education model can be. Dr Lewis Potter from Geeky Medics discussed a different business model – he explained how he had set up a thriving venture through bootstrapping, a self funded approach demanding a highly creative acquisition of resources.
Novel teaching methods were also explored at the Summit. We celebrated the incredible success of the 6pm Series, which has demonstrated how effective near-peer teaching can be. The 6pm Series provided interactive sessions on zoom run by UK-based junior doctors to clinical medical students. High yield topics were covered to prepare students for exams. This style of teaching proved advantageous to both learner and teacher particularly in communication, subject knowledge and ultimately transferable skills.
The benefits that innovation in healthcare education can bring were consistently highlighted throughout the Summit. Dr Phil McElnay from MedAll discussed the importance of making healthcare training scalable and accessible. Technology provides a way to address some of the inequities in healthcare training, but unless it is universally rolled out, it is likely to have the opposite effect with training and care becoming even more inequitable across the globe.
The rapid-moving pace of social media and its application to medical and patient education was an ongoing theme throughout the conference. Dr Armando Faigl, creator of Biology and Medicine videos on Youtube, outlined the value of visualising medicine with the aim to make learning more efficient and engaging, improving memory retention and recall. Dr Rajan an NHS surgeon explored the role of patient education through social media, specifically TikTok. Social media has made it even more difficult for the public to differentiate scientific evidence and facts from false information. Conspiracy theories can have harmful consequences potentially leading to vaccine mistrust and extreme behaviour. Dr Rajan emphasised the importance of advocating fact-checking instruments to counter the spread of misinformation in medical patient education.
The HLA-Medics.Academy Summit 2021 showcased a number of innovative medical platforms and novel teaching methods, many of which were developed in response to the pandemic. The Summit encouraged innovation and highlighted the impact that it can have. It also urged us to consider how the implementation of technology has the potential to both significantly reduce and increase inequalities.