Educational resources discussing lifestyle, public policy, and wellness relevant for all healthcare providers

How I Work Smarter: Katie Holmes, DO FACEP

One word that best describes how you work?

Hustle

Current mobile device

iPhone 12 Pro

Computer

Macbook Air

What is something you are working on now?

Updated Curriculum for our EM Clerkship, VSAS, Conference Material, Intern Orientation planning, and more

How did you come up with this Idea/Project?

We are always trying to improve our curriculums to make them better based off of feedback from previous years!

What’s your office workspace setup like?

My kitchen counter or my office at the hospital.

What’s your best time-saving tip in the office or home?

Keep a To Do list and divide into “right now” and “ideas for later”.

What’s your best time-saving tip regarding email management?

Start with the longest sitting email and work your way up, but always respond quickly to urgent emails, even if it’s to recognize you saw it.xt

What apps do you use to keep yourself organized?

iPhone To Do lists, Notepad shared with my team, Google Docs/Sheets

How do you stay up to date with resources?

Twitter, podcasts, subscribed emails

What’s your best time-saving tip in the ED?

Epic’s Work space, Updating ED Course frequently, Epic messaging, multitasking constantly

ED charting: Macros or no macros?

Minimalist Macros unless I have a complex patient, then it’s story time with M-Modal

Advice

  • What’s the best advice you’ve ever received about work, life, or being efficient?

    Always make time for the things you love. Travel hard. What you do matters. Don’t engage difficult people. Don’t take yourself too seriously… you just have to laugh it off sometimes. Take care of patients passionately. Encourage others around you always. Work can and should be enjoyable, if it’s not… you’re doing something wrong.

  • What advice would you give other doctors who want to get started, or who are just starting out?

We have the best job in the world, but you must truly love what you do to sustain a long and happy career in medicine.

  • Is there anything else you’d like to add that might be interesting to readers?

Surrounding yourself with motivated, helpful and kind people who are passionate about what they do is the best thing you can do in this demanding job! I don’t know what I would do without my people.

Who would you love for us to track down to answer these same questions?

  • Dr. Anant Patel, DO  @anantpatels

Read other How I Work Smarter posts, sharing efficiency tips and life advice.

By |2021-07-28T04:41:51-07:00Jul 28, 2021|How I Work Smarter, Medical Education|

How I Work Smarter: Gus M. Garmel, MD, FACEP, FAAEM

gus garmel how i work smarter

One word that best describes how you work?

Compassionately

Current mobile device

iPhone

Computer

MacMini

What is something you are working on now?

Multiple projects, presently Microaggressions & Civility in the Workplace, Communication and Success in EM, and Coaching/Mentoring in EM.

How did you come up with this Idea/Project?

These are important topics; not a lot of information is available about these topics related specifically to EM despite the need.

What’s your office workspace setup like?

Standing wrap-around adjustable desk with good lighting, multiple computer monitors, and sufficient space to work so that I can keep needed materials close and accessible in my work area. I have few distractions in my workspace, which allows me to focus best on the work I am doing.

What’s your best time-saving tip in the office or home?

Limit distractions and work on one thing at a time, which reduces inefficiencies and errors that often occur with multitasking.

What’s your best time-saving tip regarding email management?

I have several tips, although I have found that turning off email notifications and checking email infrequently (or on YOUR schedule when time allows) are perhaps the best recommendations I can share (again, this relates to multitasking inefficiencies, limiting distractions, and error prevention).

What apps do you use to keep yourself organized?

Ical, Notes, and email all help me stay organized. I also use SUPER-STICKY Post-It notes. They come in a variety of colors if you purchase them in bulk, which some people use to help with organization through color-coding (I don’t use this strategy, but it is a good one).

How do you stay up to date with resources?

Staying current and updated (medical and non-medical) is challenging and takes time. I have a few key websites bookmarked, and still get some materials through the mail on paper. I schedule time for keeping up. Some aggregated links direct me to articles of interest, and I receive TOCs directly from society journals (EM and non-EM). I make a conscious effort to keep up, and spend very little (or no) time on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms.

What’s your best time-saving tip in the ED?

Always think DISPOSITION (every patient needs one). I teach that if you don’t have a good idea about a patient’s disposition, you should ask more targeted questions and do a better physical examination before leaving the room. I recommend planning for test results that can only be normal, abnormal, or indeterminate. Imagine what you would do for (and with) each patient if the test results are all negative (or normal). Have a plan for indeterminate results, for positive findings, or what to do if there is a worsening in the clinical course (including persisting pain, dizziness, vomiting, shortness of breath, etc.). I also think and teach to consider what information is necessary before it is appropriate to call a consultant that I or the patient needs anyway. Often consultants appreciate hearing about a patient “early” even before all the results return (especially if it is near the end of their day while they are still in the hospital).

ED charting: Macros or no macros?

Macros, but only after I see the patient and with attention to modifying the EMR as necessary. I am meticulous about adding detail and removing anything that is incorrect from the Macro. I never use Macros in my free-text HPI.

Advice

  • What’s the best advice you’ve ever received about work, life, or being efficient?

    FOCUS – that’s key. Make every minute (or moment) count. Whenever possible, try to “finish” one task before starting another, which keeps your “to do” list as short as possible and prevents errors and inefficiencies related to multitasking or task switching.

  • What advice would you give other doctors who want to get started, or who are just starting out?

My best and most frequent advice to all physicians (especially new physicians) is to work hard (and smart), be a team player at all times, show compassion and demonstrate empathy as often as possible (always is best), and strive to improve your communication and professionalism skills. Clinical knowledge is expected. Your efficiency will improve with experience and with practice. Be kind to as many people as you can as often as you can. These are important strategies for professional success, patient satisfaction, and personal wellness.

  • Is there anything else you’d like to add that might be interesting to readers?

Enjoy your career in EM, which will be challenging yet extremely rewarding. Strive to achieve Joy and Meaning in Medicine by working with purpose. Use people’s names frequently and correctly (patients, staff, consultants, colleagues), and express genuine interest in them as people and professionals. Learning something personal about your patients and colleagues (in and outside of EM) is a sign of respect. Expressing gratitude and saying “thank you” with sincerity are always beneficial.

Who would you love for us to track down to answer these same questions?

Anyone who has demonstrated consistent long-term success in EM, and is able to share his or her successes, failures, and strategies in a clear manner.

Read other How I Work Smarter posts, sharing efficiency tips and life advice.

How I Work Smarter: Christopher Lloyd, DO

One word that best describes how you work?

Opportunistically

Current mobile device

iPhone 12 Pro

Computer

iPhone Xr

What is something you are working on now?

Qualitative analysis on resident perceptions of feedback

How did you come up with this Idea/Project?

As a program we are continuing to look at how feedback is being delivered to residents, when it is happening, how it is received/implemented, etc. This project grew from a desire to explore the resident perspective on these topics so as to understand better where we are effective with our feedback techniques and practices and where we can find areas to improve.

What’s your office workspace setup like?

Currently I’m sitting on my back patio while my three kids are across the yard in their hammock cocoons. I’ve never been much of a desk person, and I always am more comfortable and productive when I vary my environment. Kitchen table, living room by the window, backyard, or, preferentially, a local coffee shop – although that’s less frequent recently #thanksCOVID. Really the only constant to my workspace is my computer and a cup of coffee. Occasionally just a notepad and the cup of coffee. Always the coffee though.

What’s your best time-saving tip in the office or home?

Don’t wait until your sitting down for intentional work to start a to do list! You’ll spend the first 30 minutes of what could be some productive time thinking about what you should be doing. Find a method that works for you to collect your tasks (I’ve used a bunch…topic for another day) and have a plan for when you start to work. I mentioned working opportunistically above. There is no set schedule in our house. Both my wife and I are emergency physicians. I usually look at the week ahead and pick out where my blocks of work are going to be and then look at my task manager and pick out what/where I want to accomplish anything. Its rare that I sit down with an hour or two to work and don’t already have a plan. Second part of that is matching task management with energy levels. Say its 9am after two straight 5pm – whenever shifts (you know the one….the shift that technically has an end time but you never leave at that time). I know that after two nights of crummy sleep that I shouldn’t be trying to do any deep focused work so I’ll plan on doing lighter tasks that are quick and require less concentration. Save the stuff that takes more time and focus for days that you know you’ll be working with a full cup:) I tend to label these with either squirrel or zombie (Some call this the ‘mind is mush’ mindset) tags on my task manager so I can get a quick filter of either one depending on how I’m feeling.

What’s your best time-saving tip regarding email management?

Check it twice a day at the most. This is hard, and I fail regularly, but email is the single biggest time sink we have and the more time you spend out of email the better. The argument I hear is ‘what if it’s something important from my chair/medical director/PD?!’ Here’s the thing…if you only check it twice a day you set that expectation for others. Thankfully those people in my life know that if something is mission critical/needs addressed now they’ll call/text. Set aside this time once or twice a day, reply to the stuff that only takes 2 min or less, and add the other stuff to your task manager. I’m an inbox zero person, but I know that’s not for everyone.

What apps do you use to keep yourself organized?

I use Todoist for task management. That’s really it.

How do you stay up to date with resources?

Feedly is a RSS feed that I use to capture articles. I try to keep up to date with EMRAP and EMA because I know the residents are in that space regularly and I want to be able to speak to the topics that is on the forefront of their minds.

What’s your best time-saving tip in the ED?

Unless someone requires a life saving intervention never get more than 2 charts behind. What will take me a minute or two to dictate now will take 2-3 times that after my shift or later on and it adds up fast. Also dragon dictation. If my dragon is broken you will find me curled up in the fetal position under the desk.

ED charting: Macros or no macros?

Macros for physical exam – but make sure its your typical physical exam so you don’t need to change it often. Other wise dragon dictation for everything else. Not a fan of macros for medical decision making documentation. Too many times its obvious that its a macro and as such starts to diminish the credibility of the note.

Advice

  • What’s the best advice you’ve ever received about work, life, or being efficient?

    Work life balance implies that you have to give up one side to balance the other. I preach and practice work life integration.

  • What advice would you give other doctors who want to get started, or who are just starting out?

Sit down with patients and listen to them. You’ll save more time here than at your desk charting. Find what’s important to you and intentionally make time for that. Wellness is different for everyone.

Read other How I Work Smarter posts, sharing efficiency tips and life advice.

How I Work Smarter: Miguel Reyes, MD

One word that best describes how you work?

Comfortable

Current mobile device

iPhone 12 Pro

Computer

Macbook Air

What is something you are working on now?

Wound Care article, REBEL EM CME content, Journal Reviews

How did you come up with this Idea/Project?

It was an opportunity that presented itself during the fellowship. It’s a collaborative effort with other faculty members to pull together this large review article, its a lot of work and effort but I think it’ll be worth it. As for the REBEL content, I’ve been working with Salim for a little bit and this chance came up so I decided I wanted to help upload the content to be made into CME.

What’s your office workspace setup like?

Well, it used to be the Kitchen Counter (NYC apartment doesn’t offer much space) but recently got a little desk and chair in our bedroom so I sometimes use that.

 

 

What’s your best time-saving tip in the office or home?

Close all distractions and put away your phone. When working on a project consider it your “deep work” time and focus your energy on that.

What’s your best time-saving tip regarding email management?

Check it only twice a day. Once in the morning and the other time in the afternoon.

What apps do you use to keep yourself organized?

Strides – My habit tracker for things I want to improve on, studying EM topics

Todoist – Great app for being able to break down large daunting projects into smaller manageable tasks while keeping it all organized. Since downloading this app I’ve become significantly more productive.

How do you stay up to date with resources?

Feedly – News aggregator website. I simply link all the FOAM sites I really like to it so when a new article comes out I’m interested in I can read it there.

What’s your best time-saving tip in the ED?

When you dispo the patient, finish the chart, and every time you stand up from your seat try to do at least 3 tasks before sitting back down.

ED charting: Macros or no macros?

Macros, otherwise I’d be charting for ages and there isn’t enough Great British Bake Off to numb that kind of pain

Advice

  • What’s the best advice you’ve ever received about work, life, or being efficient?

    Discipline equals freedom – Sounds trite but its transformed my outlook. The more disciplined I’ve become with social media and focused work time has allowed me to be more present with my family and loved ones for the time that really matters.

    Dr. Bove one of our staff at St. Joes gave us what I thought was great efficiency advice. If you wanna be good and have a good flow in the department every time you stand from your seat to do a task, do as many as possible before sitting back down.

  • What advice would you give other doctors who want to get started, or who are just starting out?

Don’t rush the outcome. The fun in this is not the destination but the journey in getting there so try to enjoy all the twists and turns along the way.

Who would you love for us to track down to answer these same questions?

  • Marco Propersi, DO

Read other How I Work Smarter posts, sharing efficiency tips and life advice.

By |2021-05-31T15:34:38-07:00Jun 2, 2021|How I Work Smarter, Medical Education|

How I Work Smarter: Laryssa Patti, MD

One word that best describes how you work?

Organized chaos (that’s 2 words)

Current mobile device

iPhone XS

Computer

2020 13″ Macbook Air + iPad with keyboard as a second monitort

What is something you are working on now?

Incorporating FOAM into our EM clerkship

How did you come up with this Idea/Project?

COVID decided for me — we’re working on a way to keep students engaged even though we’re still semi-distance learning. Additionally, I want to send my students into residency knowing that FOAM exists but needs to be assessed in the same way we think about peer reviewed literature.

What’s your office workspace setup like?

I have an office at our medical school that is a big flat surface in a square room with an internet connection. All of the art on the walls is of landscapes, no diplomas! It is off the beaten path (and also around the corner from the hospital Starbucks), which makes it a great place to get work done.

Since COVID, I’ve been doing the majority of my non-clinical work at home with essentially the same set up, but including a cat.

What’s your best time-saving tip in the office or home?

Everything goes into my Google calendar. If I need 30 minutes to read articles for our department journal club or food shopping, it goes in my calendar. It keeps me honest and on top of my to-do list. I try to protect a certain morning/afternoon a week (this year it’s Tuesday afternoon) for my own projects and writing and will defend that time from other obligations. I am still learning that I probably need 1.25-1.5x more time than I think to achieve any goal, though.

What’s your best time-saving tip regarding email management?

I am an inbox zero person. The 5 digit unread email number of one of my good friends gives me palpitations. My Gmail automatically sorts emails into buckets (e.g., advertisements, bills) so that my actual inbox is only emails that need immediate attention. If I can give a response immediately, I will. If I need more time to research an answer, I’ll reply as much, and stick it on my calendar to come back to. I’ve also really leaned into “snoozing” emails in both Gmail and Outlook. Things like the didactic conference schedule for this week or the agenda for a meeting later this week will get snoozed until 30 minutes before that time. Similarly, I schedule a lot of emails to be sent (like the medical student schedule that we send out weekly) so that I can put in a little bit of effort upfront and then trust Outlook to send that to faculty at a certain time.

What apps do you use to keep yourself organized?

Gmail, Tasks, and Google Calendar primarily. And also the notes app on my phone for random things that I don’t want to forget that come to me while driving or in the middle of the night.

How do you stay up to date with resources?

I subscribe to a few journal aggregators that send me weekly summaries of new articles and, of course, the EM:RAP and Twitter FOAM universe that sends me back to primary sources.

What’s your best time-saving tip in the ED?

Enter orders and write/dictate at least HPI/PMH after every patient. Every time I try to stack a bunch of patients (even low acuity ones) I end up getting interrupted and realize that I’m more behind than I thought.

ED charting: Macros or no macros?

Macros, with cautions. I have some standard physical exam and discharge instructions, but only use them for specific patients.

Advice

  • What’s the best advice you’ve ever received about work, life, or being efficient?

    Say no to things after your first year out. Once you know what you like, ask yourself: is the time/effort required to participate in [admissions committee/ interdepartmental project / extracurricular project] worth what you get out of it? If the answer is no, don’t do it. If the thing that you get out of it is rest/relaxation that is a valid reason.

  • What advice would you give other doctors who want to get started, or who are just starting out?

Say yes to things your first year out. This helps you meet people and learn about different niches that you can fill. But you can’t do this forever (see answer above).

  • Is there anything else you’d like to add that might be interesting to readers?

Accept that things will not go according to plan and forgive yourself. One of the best things that I did in the last month was blow off a long meeting in that I had nothing much to add besides being a member of the quorum in order to go on a walk and watch a movie with my husband. I came back to work re-energized and was much more productive the next day. Totally worth it.

In the same vein, I’m a new mom and still struggling to find a balance between being home and present, clinical work, and non-clinical work, and am continuing to remind myself that as much as my son is growing, I am growing too! (Some days work out better than others).

Who would you love for us to track down to answer these same questions?

  • Eric Blazar (@eblazar)
  • Sugeet Jagpal (@ysugeety)

Read other How I Work Smarter posts, sharing efficiency tips and life advice.

By |2021-05-17T06:44:59-07:00May 19, 2021|How I Work Smarter, Medical Education|

The Leader’s Library: Keep Going | Sign up to join the book club discussion

Keep Going book club Leader's Library

As we submit our responses to the daily health screen for the thousandth time; realize, after having removed a mountain of PPE and sanitized our hands, that we left our phone in the patient’s room and would need to re-don everything; repeatedly observe the inevitable struggle with mute/unmute on Zoom; with all of these regular tasks and activities enveloping our lives these days, it’s hard to feel creative. Is the practice of emergency medicine a creative endeavor? How can we increase not just our creative or scholarly output, but also our internal sense of artistry and creation?

Podcast Preview of the Book

Brief Summary of Book

In Keep Going: 10 Ways to Stay Creative in Good Times and Bad, Austin Kleon attempts to answer this question (somewhat prophetically, given the book’s 2019 publication)– how can we, even in trying times, continue to nurture our creativity? Throughout the engaging, full-of-art book, Kleon outlines his argument for how, regardless of occupation, each of us can thrive in our creation of new, meaningful output:

  1. Every day is groundhog day.
  2. Build a bliss station.
  3. Forget the noun, do the verb.
  4. Make gifts.
  5. The Ordinary + Extra Attention = Extraordinary
  6. Slay the art monsters.
  7. You are allowed to change your mind.
  8. When in doubt, tidy up.
  9. Demons hate fresh air.
  10. Plant your garden.

Although Kleon himself writes and draws for a living, his suggestions are also applicable to the practice of emergency medicine, especially for those of us who are in academic, educational, and leadership positions and who need to constantly be creating to stay afloat. The book has an almost Zen quality to it, centering around mindfulness and reframing how we experience the life in front of us, rather than focusing ourselves on chasing an unachievable ideal or becoming absorbed by the mundane. For example, when we’re feeling a creative block, Kleon suggests that we set aside time to draw, like a child does, applying instrument to medium simply to enjoy the process and without an end product in mind– he writes:

“Drawing is simply another way of seeing, which we don’t really do as adults… we’re all going around in a cloud of remembrance and anxiety… and the act of drawing helps us live in the moment and concentrate on what’s really in front of us.”

A cloud of remembrance and anxiety! Yes! That is what the past year has felt like.

If you’re looking to rise out of your personal cloud of remembrance and anxiety, and explore how to infuse your career with creativity to just Keep Going, come join us for the next version of The Leader’s Library! All leaders (past, current, and future) in emergency medicine, of all professions and all locations, are welcome to participate. The book is short and full of drawings, so don’t worry that you won’t have time to read. This will be the most playful and fun iteration of TLL yet! Can’t wait to create with you!

Update

Summary of Book Club Discussion

Book Discussion Group

When: May 25-27, 2021*
Platform: Slack app
Size: 40 registrants

* The Leader’s Library runs asynchronously on the Slack app– jump in whenever you have time!

Signup Process

Deadline to sign up: May 9, 2021

We would absolutely love to learn and grow with you. Sign up now to secure your spot!

Team

  • Felix Ankel, MD: Emergency Physician, Regions Hospital. Medical Director, Education, HealthPartners Institute, Professor of Emergency Medicine, University of Minnesota Medical School (@felixankel)
  • Nikita Joshi, MD: Emergency Department medical director, Alameda County Medical Center, Oakland, California (@njoshi8)
  • Peter Tomaselli, MD: Assistant Residency Program Director, Emergency Medicine, Thomas Jefferson University Hospital/Sidney Kimmel Medical College, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (@pjtomaselli)
  • Victoria Brazil, MD, MBA: Medical Director of Goal Coast Simulation Service; Co-Producer of Simulcast and Harvard Macy Institute podcasts, Emergency Physician, Bond University (@SocraticEM)
  • Dina Wallin, MD: Assistant Medical Director of PEM, San Francisco General Hospital; Director of Didactics, UCSF-SFGH EM residency, San Francisco, California

Learn more about the other Leader’s Library book clubs.

Listen to all of The Leader’s Library podcasts

By |2021-07-01T18:55:21-07:00Apr 30, 2021|Book Club, Leaders Library, Wellness|

Reading from the Silver Linings Playbook: The ALiEM Connect Project

ALiEM Connect graduation

It feels like yesterday that we were sheltered-in-place, staring at our computers, wondering, “So now what?” 

As COVID-19 paused all in-person educational sessions, the early morning residency conference we used to begrudgingly join quickly became something that we profoundly missed. While we can now be “present” while wearing sweatpants and a button-down shirt, we miss the human connection. Many of us would gladly even suffer through traffic just to be a part of this morning conference tradition.

As educators and innovators, we know what a disruptive force the COVID-19 pandemic has been to the medical community. It has strained our medical and healthcare systems and has irrevocably altered our day-to-day lives. Without a doubt, the pandemic also changed how we delivered educational content to our learners over the past year.

Scholars have written about how likely this pandemic will likely precipitate the much-needed digital transformation of healthcare and health professions education that many of us have expected and hoped for. But while some of these innovations are born out of necessity, they may also inadvertently isolate us from the experiential aspects of education and human interaction that provide meaning to our work. For the ALiEM team, we cherish the opportunity to be part of some of these significant innovative and positive “disruptions,” further aligning our goal of creating an impactful and fulfilling academic life in emergency medicine. 

The Backstory

As a remote team working across continents, the ALiEM team has thrived on digital connection for over a decade. With excellent collaborators and volunteers representing different parts of the world, our daily operations require us to stay connected and work asynchronously to achieve our goals and deliverables. When the lockdowns hit, we leveraged its impact on physical distancing and leaned into connecting with each other even more! They say “chance favors the prepared mind,” and there we were, already on Slack and yearning for the opportunity to harness the power of teamwork using our shared passions, individual creative strengths, and enthusiastic and supportive emojis. There were moments of creating, moments of celebration, and moments of simply being with each other – often through an evening #WifiAndWine.

By the Ides of March 2020, an auspicious time indeed, we knew we were at a turning point. Our friends and work families had been working on the front lines combating the pandemic locally, gathering PPE, and studying the effects of a virus we knew next to nothing about. New information was coming in daily, and the signal-to-noise ratio was low. In some ways, to escape the disruptions going on all around us, we banded together to focus our unique energies toward creating something as novel as the virus itself in the realm of free open-access medical education.

At a time where everyone was feeling alone, we asked ourselves how we could support the joy of learning from and with each other? In truly whirlwind fashion, the first ALiEM Connect conference went from idea to execution in less than 2 weeks, a record-breaking time even for ALiEM. Thank especially to the American Board of Emergency Medicine for sponsoring these events.

We recently made it to the semi-finals at the CORD/ACEP Innovator of the Year competition, where we shared the below video capturing the fun, collaboration, and innovative outcome of our efforts. Oh, and the familiar ratatat of Slack.

Making this a Multiple Win

The secret sauce of the ALiEM team is that we have a diverse group of people, each of whom brings their own perspective and that we are able to share with one another liberally. Dr. Michelle Lin encouraged an environment that is psychologically safe and supportive since the inception of the ALiEM enterprise. It is out of this space that our diverse team was able to successfully bring a massively successful project to fruition amid a global pandemic. What started as a small brainstorming session blossomed into ALiEM Connect – 3 distinct remote conferences featuring nationally-recognized educators and thought leaders enjoyed by residents across the country.

It’s difficult to express as a linear narrative, but looking back, it seems as though our team divided into unique roles without a second thought. Just like a production company, we had the front and back of the house. Those in the front made sure to help get people in the seats to watch; stage managers and coordinators ensured that every part of each of the ALiEM Connect experiences was phenomenally smooth. We had talented individuals who acted as hosts and speakers to ensure that each of these experiences was top-notch and engaging. In the back, Drs. Mary Haas, Yusuf Yilmaz, and Teresa Chan sprung quickly into action to create a program evaluation strategy for our ALiEM Connect program, including a formal institutional review board exemption! All the while, testing and vetting platforms and methods to distribute the material were ongoing. We built upon each technological skill, learned new platforms, and trialed different features. We had barely decided on an open, free, and accessible platform (which was, in fact, no individual platform but an amalgamation of many!) before sending out the invites.

But the fun didn’t stop there! We’re the “academic” life in emergency medicine! How could we not also share our results with the traditional academic community? Within days of finishing our first ALiEM Connect experience, our program evaluation team generated the scaffolding of a manuscript to put together our thoughts and analyze the evaluation data collected. We harnessed the power of metrics from social media platforms (YouTube, Slack, Twitter), website analytics, and end-user experiences. Harnessing all of these analytics and communicating the right message with our academic medicine community was important to inform and help others to replicate similar approaches to their residents. Our team used ready to use metrics which came from YouTube analytics. But we did not stop there as we needed more reports of how the residents and programs interacted during the Connect events in the backchannel, Slack. We developed Python supported software to export and analyze all the messages happening in separate channels. We developed a “Emoji Cloud” to see how the reactions happened, and closely analyzed the messages during the event.

Given the true novelty of the experience, we figured we might as well shoot for the moon, as they say, by submitting our innovation description paper to Academic Medicine. After all, even if they didn’t accept it, we might get some constructive reviews, to say the least. As innovators, we are comfortable with the possibility of failure. We understand the value of the saying, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take,” and were prepared to accept “no” as an answer. With that, we took a calculated risk, making use of the same collaborative strategy to craft a manuscript, and clicked submit.

…And we’re glad we took that shot! We are excited to share that what we sent was indeed accepted and express our gratitude for the chance to share our low-cost approach to a large-scale, nationwide residency conference! You may read the Published Ahead-of-Print version of our paper.

Moral of the story…

You might be asking yourself, “What’s the moral of the story here? Of course, with enough academics and experts, yeah, you got a paper published. Cool…” But the papers aren’t the point. In fact, during the COVID-19 pandemic, more papers have been published than ever before – more research is being done, and our whole field is changing. The point is… this is how we got to ENJOY the academic life during a pandemic! We made lemonade (and several other desserts!) out of the lemons we were handed. New knowledge comes from thinking big and trying new things. Turns out, sometimes you also have to write about those experiences and share them with others.

As emergency physicians, we know we’re good in a crisis. But this experience reminded us that by surrounding ourselves with amazing people, we could get a surprising amount of work done (at record speed) and have a fantastically memorable time along the way. The moral of this story is that when you bring great people together and give them a chance to get to know each other, magic happens. ALiEM Connect happens. And we impact more people than we can possibly meet at the touch of our keyboards. We are so grateful for the chance to work alongside all the wonderful people at each of our institutions every day. Still, also, we are indebted to those who are our digital family. Thank you to all of you who make initiatives like ALiEM Connect possible. Academic life in emergency medicine is all about bringing a great team together.

So is the ALiEM team.

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