Physicians

Another Step toward Open Health Education

Osmosis Screen

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.

Osmosis is aggregating medical school curricula and extracurricular resources as well as generating a tremendous amount of data on student performance. The program uses adaptive algorithms and an intuitive interface to provide the best, most useful customized content to those trying to learn.

However, as Ryan and Shiv conclude in their Annals article, data can only take us so far. Anyone who has received a baffling Netflix or Amazon recommendation can likely relate to that problem. Ultimately Osmosis will need an even larger database of curated and validated open educational resources (OER) to create a truly useful health education platform, for both clinicians and patients.

To help take this work to the next level, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) recently extended a $150,000 grant to help Osmosis make its platform accessible to all clinical students and, eventually, patients and other public users.

This project will build on RWJF’s ongoing investment in reimagining medical education. As Michael says, this kind of smart online platform that enables customized, just-in-time learning could be another piece in our search for that giant leap to “free, ubiquitous and utterly fantastic health care education.”

The Osmosis content will be openly licensed under Creative Commons so that students and faculty can continuously improve upon it through the Osmosis crowdsourcing platform. Combined with our recommendation engine, this high-yield content will be made publicly available on www.osmosis.org.

Members of the medical community, we need your help. We need clinicians, experts and educators like you to help contribute and review content. We’re counting on the medical community as we develop and curate practice questions, images, videos, mnemonics, and other resources in ten specific areas, from anesthesiology to surgery.

If you’re interested in helping us build this unique and potentially powerful learning tool for all, learn more at https://www.osmosis.org/oer/apply.

Shiv Gaglani (@ShivGaglani) is a co-founder of Osmosis.  An editor of Medgadget, he is currently an MD/MBA candidate atthe  Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and Harvard Business School.

Ryan Haynes, PhD is a co-founder of Osmosis.  He is also an MD candidate at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.

Michael W. Painter, JD, MD (@paintmd) is a senior program officer at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Livongo’s Post Ad Banner 728*90

17
Leave a Reply

8 Comment threads
9 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
10 Comment authors
Ryan HaynesAllison DollarMatthew HoltReasonable MDMichael Painter Recent comment authors
newest oldest most voted
Matthew Holt
Guest

Ryan, the Bahn brothers now run Medivo…they started Ozmosis and may sell you the name if you care…

You are sharp, young, hardworking and intelligent. I am none of those but my only differentiating factor is that I am old, have a semi-decent memory and like to throw the odd rock.

No harm meant & good luck with the project!

Matthew Holt
Guest

The real scandal here is not the question about whether young MDs are practicing medicine or older ones are bullying them, it’s shocking re-use of the name! Ozmosis was a not too unsuccessful online physician community started by the Bhan brothers also young MDs who now run Medivo. You can see it right here https://ozmosis.org/home Now a new batch of young MDs are running an online community for other MDs and they decide to call it Osmosis. It’s also a dot org You notice the massive difference? Ozmosis vs Osmosis Guys, was that the best name you could come up… Read more »

Ryan Haynes
Guest

Hi Matthew, Thanks for the opportunity to explain the name “Osmosis”. I came up with the name Osmosis when I was writing the first few lines of code for it while in my first year of med school in 2011. Osmosis had two meanings: the crowd sourcing and targeted recommending of questions allowed knowledge to diffuse among med school classmates instead of a simple top down educational model. The push notifications of the mobile app would allow passive learning (the 2nd definition of “osmosis” in Webster’s dictionary) that did not require a student to create a schedule to return to… Read more »

Karen Sibert MD
Guest

Oh dear, no. Getting an MD degree would never contribute financially to a business plan; you’re absolutely correct. However, it can provide a credential that opens doors. That’s why MD/MBA programs are proliferating. Everyone wants to be a thought leader, whatever that is. The only problem is that no one wants to take care of the patients. I’m relieved at least to hear that you’re taking time off from medical school to do all this. Medical school ought to be a full commitment of intellectual as well as physical energy. I suppose what depresses me about the Osmosis logo is… Read more »

Allison Dollar
Guest
Allison Dollar

But Osmosis isn’t just about question and answer learning; that’s just a very small part. It’s also about all the resources available to students such as videos, mnemonics, diagrams, and just about anything else that can be imagined and getting them to the student at the point of learning. After, Osmosis tests the students before everything is forgotten in the deluge of information that is medical school. This allows more focused study on new concepts as old concepts are strengthened not only with questions and resources but also time in clinic which helps students and doctors recall information when they… Read more »

Michael Painter
Guest
Michael Painter

Thanks for the interesting comments and discussion. Shiv and Ryan, to the extent it’s necessary or appropriate, can comment on their personal career plans. We at RWJF though are interested in innovative, entrepreneurial ways to help make learning about health faster, better, cheaper. To do that we like to encourage energetic, smart, creative individuals impatient with the marginal status quo. The fact that Shiv and Ryan are high performing medical students is, if anything, potentially a plus. For instance, these two have already created a medical education question resource, Osmosis, that’s pretty popular with their medical student peers. Currently, about… Read more »

m25
Guest
m25

Seconding Rockville’s inquiry. Shiv and Ryan, perhaps tapping into your own experiences in medical school and providing us an example of where Osmosis might have been been beneficial would help us have a better picture of how this would work…

Shiv Gaglani
Guest

Happy to provide more detail, Rockville and m25. If you can access it too, our piece in the Annals of Internal Medicine does this as well. We’d be happy to share if you email us. One example of Amazon/Netflix-style recommendations as applied on Osmosis is as follows: based on what a medical student is looking at, e.g. a course document, we have developed a system that will automatically recommend related content that other medical students look at, e.g. a YouTube video or mnemonic. That’s similar to Amazon’s “customer who bought this also bought that” or Netflix “if you liked this… Read more »

Don't Go Back to Rockville
Guest

Why is using an learning engine better than traditional learning? Tell us more about your algorithm. You’re going to have to do better than it “works like Facebook” and “Netflix” you’re going to get a lot of the skepticism you’re hearing here. Med students already have the internet, a pretty decent “learning engine.”

Karen Sibert MD
Guest

My question is this: Did Gaglani or Haynes ever have any real intention of practicing medicine, in the sense of taking care of actual patients? (As opposed to avatars.) Or were their quests for MD degrees simply part of the business plan?

m25
Guest
m25

Ouch, Karen. Since when did taking advantage of opportunities to open up access to med ed resources turn into a master plan for world domination?

Shiv Gaglani
Guest

Thank you for giving us the opportunity to clarify our career paths with you, Dr. Silbert. Both Ryan and I are very interested in practicing medicine. As is the case with your journalistic endeavors, we also have passions that we intend to combine with medicine to contribute to the field. I’m sure you can relate given your excellent articles that raise awareness to important issues. The time spent on those articles may also have been spent on patient care, but I believe your choice to write them was wise since they contribute to a necessary dialogue that may influence policy… Read more »

Shiv Gaglani
Guest

Lastly, Dr. Sibert, given your background as a professor of anesthesiology we would be honored if you would join our efforts (https://www.osmosis.org/oer/apply). Thank you for your consideration.

Reasonable MD
Guest
Reasonable MD

First of all, thank you to Shiv, Ryan, and Mike for your tremendous work. This is an exciting development and one that I hope will help many health care professionals and their patients. Second, I would argue that you reconsider inviting Dr. Sibert to work with you. I was shocked by her rude comment questioning your motivations, which you handled with grace despite it being totally uncalled for and not even remotely related to the article you wrote. Sibert is a well-recognized bully in the field of medicine, and I knew her name sounded familiar so I did a google… Read more »

m25
Guest
m25

A thread which was intended to discuss an open health education resource has now turned into one regarding physician bullying…

Sighing indeed.

Any chance we can get back to the point here?

@BobbyGvegas
Guest

Is there a business model here?

Shiv Gaglani
Guest

@BobbyGvegas, thank you for your question. We are creating open educational resources (OER) for medicine with the generous support of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. In terms of sustaining the platform, we have a few potential options: follow-up grant funding, approved and helpful advertising, and providing users more analytics or features beyond access to the OER. Please feel free to touch base should you have any additional questions.