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EyeGuru.org is an educational website designed by ophthalmology residents for ophthalmology residents. The website states upfront, “You get no more and no less information than exactly what's needed.”
EyeGuru.org is an educational website designed by ophthalmology residents for ophthalmology residents. It offers just the right amount of information, according to its founder, David Xu, MD, ophthalmology resident at University of California, Los Angeles, and his colleagues, Shawn Lin, MD, also of UCLA, and Ben Lin, MD, a UCLA medical student, all who founded the site earlier this year. The website states upfront, “You get no more and no less information than exactly what's needed.”
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“With the help of some colleagues in residency, the reason EyeGuru.org got started was to find a new way for ophthalmology residents to access and know how to use the latest generation of tools that have been recently developed,” Dr. Xu said. “We want to bring the power of the Internet and a new generation of educational tools to them.”
EyeGuru.org was created by residents who realized the need for an efficient learning tool during the busy training years. Article content on the site is designed for “rapid learning” opportunities for residents and is tailored to the knowledge residents already have, according to the website.
“We did this because ophthalmology is so highly specialized. Residents are faced with a challenge,” Dr. Xu continued. “They are needing to tackle clinical, surgical, and basic science material with steep learning curves.”
On the site, students who are new to residency can expect to discover what Dr. Xu calls the “highest yield information” needed to begin evaluating patients and running a clinic. Such information might include basic tips (Example: how to use an indirect ophthalmoscope) to advanced material, including using ophthalmic ultrasound.
The site features what is called an EyeGuru Deck, or an ability to acquire knowledge with the help of spaced repetition flash cards.
So far, news about the site is traveling quickly via word of mouth, emails to colleagues of Dr. Xu and his team, and by the founders participating in interviews across the nation. Already there are 4,000-plus page views a month, with 200 registered members and 52% return users. The site also currently holds a 12% signup rate.
News about the site travels quickly through word of mouth even as chief residents have shared with other residents. “We’re already getting positive feedback from a lot of different hospitals from East Coast to the West Coast, from places such as Bascom Palmer Eye Institute and Case Western Reserve,” he said.
In determining the content to post on the site, Dr. Xu explained, “What a resident needs to know at each point in their career is well known. It’s material that people would agree on.” And that’s exactly the type of content residents will find on the site.
“We have detailed experience because we are so close to that point in time ourselves. We are trying to figure what we know so that we can make things incredibly relevant for new residents,” he said.
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The site originally included a set of 12 articles, which already have garnered positive reviews from people who have returned to the EyeGuru.org team with feedback, noting, “These were just what we needed.” Article topics address, for example, interpreting optical coherence tomography (OCT) and management of glaucoma.
“Some people we have heard from are from our own program -new residents who say the site is incredibly helpful. They can go back during clinic and look through articles to help them manage cases,” Dr. Xu said.
In spreading the word going forward, the plan remains to continue to use the internet platform for residents, Dr. Xu said. “While going to meetings and learning about the website there can be helpful, we really want to make other residents aware of us through email, web forums, etc. Our vision is for every resident to use this content as a key part of how they learn,” he said.
What about “competitor” sites? Dr. Xu is quick to note that other sites may have an educational focus but are not really viewed as competitors. “We mainly made our site as an educational resource, but we also made ours different. In one way, we use spaced repetition as a format of learning. Students can review information and get it fed back to them at appropriate pace for them, instead of the traditional textbook cramming,” he said. “We also offer a virtual clinic where residents can learn from clinical examples without needing to see the patient. Through the exam, the residents can learn from history and learn to manage in a digital fashion.”
“Because we are web based, residents can use EyeGuru during downtime allowing distributed learning to happen whether they are at home, in clinic, or on the road” Dr. Xu said.
Currently, the site is social media friendly, with regular posts on Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus.
“We recognize that we are working with a millennial generation of ophthalmology practitioners. They need a new, efficient way to learn in the complex medical landscape. Because they are faced with difficult pieces of learning when starting residency, we wanted to make the process efficient for residents,” Dr. Xu said.
As for future plans, Dr. Xu said he and his colleagues are seeking faculty sponsors. They’re also working on supplying personal impressions of clinical events via video modality. “It’s an important way to share information. We can offer video demonstrations and educational material,” he said.
Though the site primarily targets ophthalmology residents, Dr. Xu said, “as ophthalmologists turn into young and midcareer ophthalmologists, we will evolve, too, and generate video relevant to these guys. Ophthalmologists strive to be lifelong learners. If we want to ultimately create the most efficient learning platform for ophthalmology residents, then it’s our goal to make more residents aware.”
Visit the site at www.eyeguru.org.