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Another Step Toward Open Health Education

May 22, 2014, 8:00 AM, Posted by Mike Painter

Osmosis logo Image credit: Knowledge Diffusion

This post was originally published on The Health Care Blog by Shiv Gaglani, Ryan Haynes, and Michael Painter, MD.

Earlier this month Shiv and Ryan published a piece in the Annals of Internal Medicine, entitled What Can Medical Education Learn from Facebook and Netflix? We chose the title because, as medical students, we realized the tools our classmates are using to socialize and watch TV use more sophisticated algorithms than the tools we use to learn medicine.

What if the same mechanisms that Facebook and Netflix use—such as machine learning-based recommender systems, crowdsourcing, and intuitive interfaces—could transform how we educate our health care professionals? For example, just as Amazon recommends products based on other items that customers have bought, we believe that supplementary resources such as questions, videos, images, mnemonics, references, and even real-life patient cases could be automatically recommended based on what students and professionals are learning in the classroom or seeing in the clinic. That is one of the premises behind Osmosis, the flagship educational platform of Knowledge Diffusion, Shiv’s and Ryan’s startup. Osmosis uses data analytics and machine learning to deliver the best medical content to those trying to learn it, as efficiently as possible for the learner. Since its launch in August, Osmosis has delivered over two million questions to more than 10,000 medical students around the world using a novel push notification system that syncs to student curricular schedules.

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Khan Academy MCAT Competition: Building Free, Open-Access Medical Education Resources

May 14, 2014, 8:00 AM, Posted by Pioneer Blog Team

Rishi Desai Rishi Desai, MD, MPH, Medical Lead at Khan Academy

Rishi Desai, Medical Partnership Program Lead at Khan Academy, works to help Khan Academy connect people to quality information about health and medicine. He is currently a pediatric infectious disease physician, and previously spent two years as an EIS officer with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

By Rishi Desai

When I think about the new MCAT test that will launch in 2015, it brings back memories of my own late night study sessions in college. Just prior to taking the MCAT, I was enrolled in a particularly tough life sciences course at UCLA where our professor asked us to design an experiment that would “prove” that DNA was the genetic material in cells. We literally had to step into the shoes of historic researchers, think critically, and rediscover the fundamentals for ourselves. Preparing for these classes was tough, but it was worth it because I knew that it would help me understand the material on a very deep level. At Khan Academy we want to help all students truly understand the material and understand how to apply it.

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Pioneering Ideas Podcast: Episode 4

May 12, 2014, 8:00 AM, Posted by Pioneer Blog Team

Please note that this podcast player might not work in some versions of Internet Explorer. Please view this page in another browser, such as Chrome, Firefox or Safari. You may also access the episode via SoundCloud.

Welcome to the fourth episode of RWJF’s Pioneering Ideas podcast, where we explore cutting edge ideas and emerging trends that can transform health and health care. Your host is Lori Melichar, director at the foundation.

TED Master Class Game designer Jane McGonigal and IDEO CEO Tim Brown join Thomas Goetz for the master class conversation at TED 2014

Ideas & Projects in This Episode

  • MakerNurse (2:38) - Nurses Kelly Reilly, Roxana Reyna, and Mary Beth Dwyer share how they hack the supplies in their hospitals’ supply closets to improve patient care. (These nurses are all involved with RWJF grantee MakerNurse, the brainchild of Jose Gomez-Marquez and Anna Young, who lead the Little Devices Lab at MIT.)
  • Alternative Marketplaces (8:59) - Grantees Terry McDonald (St. Vincent de Paul) and George Wang (SIRUM) have something in common: They’re passionate about turning other people’s trash into resources that can improve health and health care. We introduced them and invited them to have a conversation about their work.
  • Visualizing Health (19:15) - RWJF entrepreneur in residence and former WIRED editor Thomas Goetz, RWJF program officer Andrea Ducas, designer Tim Leong and the University of Michigan’s Brian Zikmund-Fisher talk about Visualizing Health (vizhealth.org) -- how it came about, how they collaborated to make it happen, how it features agile research practices and what they hope happens next
  • Designing a Culture of Health (25:45) - Game designer Jane McGonigal and IDEO CEO Tim Brown share ideas about designing a culture of health (highlights from the master class conversation at TED 2014).

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Discover Positive Health: New Website Launches

May 9, 2014, 12:25 PM, Posted by Pioneer Blog Team

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Are you interested in the connection between physical and psychological health? Intrigued about how positive health assets may help us stay healthy and recover more quickly from illness? Looking for ways to stay up-to-speed on the latest research?

Check out the new Positive Health Research website, a valuable resource for those who are exploring the concept of positive health.

Some of the more recent research featured on the website includes:

  • A study into whether life satisfaction impacts how often someone visits the doctor
  • A study that found psychological well-being is associated with a reduced risk of hypertension

Over the past five years, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has funded research to help identify the health assets that produce stronger health, in collaboration with the Positive Psychology Center at the University of Pennsylvania. This new website showcases the most promising research around the concept of positive health, providing evidence that has the potential to change the way we think about health and health care.

The Case for Journeying to the Center of Our Social Networks

May 5, 2014, 11:07 AM, Posted by Pioneer Blog Team

James Fowler James Fowler, Professor of Medical Genetics and Political Science at UCSD

James Fowler is Professor of Medical Genetics and Political Science at the University of California, San Diego. His work lies at the intersection of the natural and social sciences, with a focus on social networks, behavior, evolution, politics, genetics, and big data. Together with RWJF grantee Nicholas Christakis, Fowler wrote a book on social networks for a general audience called Connected.

By James Fowler

In recent weeks, much has been made of David Lazer’s finding that Google’s Flu Trends tracker seriously missed the mark in its measurement of flu activity for 2012-2013—and in previous years, too. For those who don’t know, Flu Trends monitors Google search behaviors to identify regions where searches related to flu-like symptoms are spiking.

In spite of Flu Trend’s notable misstep, Lazer still believes in the power of marrying health and social data. In discussing the results of his study, he has maintained Google Flu is “a terrific” idea—one that just needs some refining. I agree.

And, earlier this month, Nicholas Christakis, several other colleagues, and I—with funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation—published a new method offering one such refinement. Our paper shows that, in a given social network (in this study’s case, Twitter), a sample of its most connected, central individuals can hold significant predictive power. We call this potentially powerful group of individuals a “sensor group.”

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