The digital era has helped to revolutionize how people learn, and the otolaryngology world is no exception. Online information has helped to educate patients, medical students, residents, and physicians at every stage of their careers. But with the flood of data available online, how can you discern what is based in quality science and what is not?
“This is the new age,” said Sonya Malekzadeh, MD, a professor of otolaryngology at Georgetown University School of Medicine in Washington, D.C. “In my day, we looked at medical atlases. But today, you don’t want your residents looking at videos that haven’t been vetted.”
ENTtoday’s list of science-based resources for otolaryngologists includes websites, medical indexes, podcasts, and videos that are all available for education and awareness about the world of otolaryngology.
OTOSource (otosource.org). Developed by the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery Foundation (AAO-HNSF) along with nearly 20 otolaryngology societies, this online curriculum will be officially launched at the Academy’s Annual Meeting in Atlanta in October 2018. OTOSource is “a repository of educational material that exists not only at the Academy level but across the specialty,” said Dr. Malekzadeh. In each topic, there is a module, a brief objective of the topic, references of landmark articles on PubMed, educational material available on the subject, videos, past lectures and more. Initial access is free to all, though some Societies may charge for access to specific material.
OTOSource “is really a nice unifying program across our specialty,” said Dr. Malekzadeh. “It’s still evolving and will be continually updated.”
COCLIA (Comprehensive Otolaryngologic Curriculum Learning through Interactive Approach) (cochlia.org). The latest edition of COCLIA, an online learning program for otolaryngology, launched in July and features a user-friendly platform where residents can interactively learn from material that goes beyond simply listening to lectures. The program covers more than 100 topics in otolaryngology, with new references and visuals in the latest edition, and takes two years to fully cover. “By the time residents graduate, they should have gone through it twice, with assigned questions to be addressed in weekly conferences,” said Dr. Malekzadeh. “It’s very good for studying for the in-service exam, which residents take for board certification.”
Educators appreciate COCLIA because “they aren’t creating lectures that people sleep through,” said Dr. Malekzadeh. “There’s more buy-in” from the residents.
AcademyU (academyu.entnet.org). Dr. Malekzadeh also cited AcademyU, a resource from the AAO-HNS, as a plethora of information that houses books, Q&As, products, lectures, and information from the AAO–HNS annual meeting.
Iowa Head and Neck Protocols (medicine.uiowa.edu/iowaprotocols). Designed to bridge the gaps between concept and implementation, the Iowa Head and Neck Protocols, edited by Henry Hoffman, MD, professor of otolaryngology and radiation oncology at the University of Iowa Health Care and the Carver College of Medicine in Iowa City, Iowa, are educational resources for patients, speech pathologists, physicians, nurses, and all kinds of healthcare professionals to learn about different surgical procedures in otolaryngology. The site is continuing to increase in popularity, now with nearly 80,000 page views each month and was recently updated for easier mobile use. “It thrills me when a patient has come in before a procedure and tells me, ‘I already saw it on the Iowa Protocols website,’” said Dr. Hoffman.
Interactive Case Learning Series from the International Forum of Allergy and Rhinology(wileyprofessionalacademy.com/international-forum-allergy-rhinology-interactive-case-learning-series). Free but registration required. This monthly series features cases relating to allergy, rhinology, and otolaryngology.
CME Finder (cmefinder.org). With an otolaryngology component launched in mid-August, this site offers accredited CME activities that count for American Board of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery (ABOHNS) MOC, as a result of a collaboration between the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education and ABOHNS, as well as four other specialty boards. As he has seen with other specialty board activity, Graham McMahon MD, MMS, ACCME president and CEO, said he expects the accredited CME community to fill the directory with “a range of activities devised by professional societies, hospital and health systems, journals, publishers, and other CME providers to meet the needs of the otolaryngology community.” Once otolaryngologists attend those activities, that information will be sent to the ABOHNS so physicians will see MOC credit awarded accordingly.
“We are hoping that otolaryngologists use this system to be more intentional in seeking out activities that are more relevant to them,” Dr. McMahon said. “The CME community is building high quality educational programming to help physicians perform at their very best.”
SinusVideos.com (youtube.com/user/sinusvideos). Available both through its website and a YouTube channel, SinusVideos.com is run by Ralph Metson, MD, a professor of otolaryngology at Harvard Medical School and a nasal and sinus surgeon at Massachusetts Eye and Ear and Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. It’s a collection of more than 100 videos that feature sinus procedures from the most basic to the most advanced sinus procedures, and are recorded, edited, and narrated by Dr. Metson and his colleagues. Based on Dr. Metson’s longtime interest in recording his work as an endoscopic surgeon, the site epitomizes his philosophy: “If a photo is worth 1,000 words, a video is worth 10,000 words.”
Launched in 2009 with the help of two of Dr. Metson’s then-Fellows, Man-Kit Leung, MD, and Zachary Soler, MD, the site now attracts users from around the globe and, as of mid-August, had close to 1 million page views and nearly a quarter of a million users, said Dr. Metson. On the main site, two videos on basic steps of sinus surgery are the most popular, but on YouTube, “the most popular video is one where I am taking a bullet out of the nose that went into the orbit, but the eye still had vision,” said Metson. “It’s a dramatic video for a layman to watch—it has a ‘wow’ factor.”
House Ear Institute (youtube.com/user/houseearclinic/videos). The nonprofit House Ear Institute, based in Los Angeles, also features educational videos of various hearing and related surgical procedures via its YouTube channel.
American Head and Neck Society (ahns.info/resources/education/video). The American Head and Neck Society has made available various videos on free and regional flaps for head and neck reconstruction, as well as a few additional related topic videos.
Scope It Out (scopeitoutpodcast.com). This podcast from the International Forum of Allergy and Rhinology focuses on clinical-based and relevant issues for practitioners in the world of rhinology, allergy, and diseases of the cranial base, and is hosted by Tim Smith, MD, MPH, a professor of otolaryngology–head and neck surgery at Oregon Health and Science University in Portland, and member of the ENTtoday editorial advisory board.
Over the past two years, Dr. Smith has recorded a monthly podcast with assorted guests. “I wanted educational value, and to respect the science we are trying to advance, but also wanted it to be a casual conversation with some entertainment value as well,” said Smith. “I’m a west coast guy and we approach it that way. For the first time in my life, I’ve been told I have a radio voice. People you know through a meeting hear you talking about some topic they are interested in, and it all kind of simmers into this nice little stew.”
Cheryl Alkon is a freelance writer based in Massachusetts.