Service aims to help healthcare providers find medical education resources.
**This article was originally published in StartUp.Health.**
Healthcare providers are required by law to stay up-to-date with the latest medical advancements. Doctors around the globe must complete annual continuing medical education (CME) to maintain their state licenses, hospital credentialing and membership in their specialty societies.
CME also helps improve competence and familiarity about new and developing areas of their field. These requirements often vary by state. In California, physicians need to complete 100 credits of CME every four years. Utah requires 40 credits of CME every two years while Texas requires 24 credits annually.
While the stages of medical education — undergraduate, postgraduate and continuing medical education — are clear, finding the best CME is often difficult. “There’s no Yelp for medical education,” said Dr. John Dayton, Chief Medical Officer and Founder of MedForums.
Physicians obtain CME as part of their Maintenance of Certification (MOC). In an article, Steph Weber listed 11 reasons physicians hate the current MOC process from costs, confusion, time commitment and desire for higher quality content.
#FOAMed (Free Open-Access Medical Education) is a newer medical education movement and content products provide a collection of constantly evolving, collaborative and interactive open-access medical education resources.
Many of these resources are available via social media resources and blogs. Because these sites are maintained by physicians, they do not have large advertising budgets and are mainly spread by word-of-mouth.
Two great examples of #FOAMed content are Dr. Salim Rezaie’s R.E.B.E.L. EM and Dr. Ken Milne’s Skeptics Guide to Emergency Medicine.
If healthcare providers cannot find valuable, credible resources and cannot easily access quality medical education, they cannot provide sufficient care for their patients. Thankfully, this duo created a way for physicians to crowdsource their peers and find the best medical education.
Dr. John Dayton first had the idea for MedForums after he attended an Oral Boards preparation course. The course was adequate, but John didn’t feel like the course provided enough insight and preparation and ended up taking an additional course. After taking both courses, he had spent two weeks away from his home and practice and spent thousands of dollars.
He soon realized that there was a desperate need to be able to crowdsource medical colleagues on a broader scale to find the best medical education. He was certain that every physician would want a one-stop-shop to find, discuss and track medical education resources. Dayton got to work testing the idea during a national emergency medicine conference.
He conducted surveys with over 500 emergency physicians, inquiring about their challenges related to sourcing medical education. He found that the majority of his colleagues would widely benefit from his idea and would rate and read reviews for medical education products.
Alongside his wife, Angela, a serial entrepreneur and angel investor, John Dayton founded MedForums, the largest peer-reviewed network of medical education resources.
Under the Hood
MedForums was built for physicians, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, residents and medical students. When a medical practitioner first signs on to the MedForums platform, they can search from thousands of resources based on their level of training, their current area of focus and their learning style. Based on the search criteria, the database compiles a list of resources that can be sorted by highest rated, most reviewed or the price.
For practicing physicians, MedForums offers hundreds of CME, board preparation materials and MOC resources with peer reviews, so they can read what others have to say. For students and residents, there are tons of in-service, shelf-exam, USMLE prep materials and textbooks to choose from.
In addition to traditional CME resources, MedForums also provides other resources like FOAMed blogs, podcasts, mobile apps and videos searchable by occupation, specialty, stage of training and need, which are entirely free. Physicians are able to leave ratings and reviews, mark their interests and share any resource with others, giving newcomers access to valuable, peer-reviewed content.
Medical education producers and companies can create profiles for their resources on the MedForums platform that allow them to insert descriptions of the education product, associated costs, dates for live events, social media accounts, a link to their website and more. Companies who want to partner with MedForums, but don’t want to lead traffic away from their website, can also embed a review badge that educators can use on their homepage.
Why We’re Proud to Invest
MedForums was created for physicians by physicians so that they can share their experiences and help each other find the best medical education resources. At StartUp Health, we’ve invested in a global army of Health Transformers who are improving the health and wellbeing of everyone in the world. And John and Angela Dayton are doing just that, ensuring physicians have access to the medical resources they need to improve healthcare.
Finally, we’re excited to back MedForums because it’s all about the health moonshot, and we see that mindset in John and Angela. Two of our health moonshots are ‘Pandemic Response’ and ‘Cost to Zero.’
To address the pandemic, MedForums created a resource center with information on COVID-19 from government entities (like the CDC and Australian Department of Health), academic centers, medical journals and online resources (like MDCalc). To help with bringing the ‘Cost to Zero,’ MedForums highlights free resources, like #FOAMed blogs and podcasts, that produce cutting edge content, but don’t have large advertising budgets.
Since launching in 2018, they’ve had millions of site visits, had 500 educators build profile pages for over 2,000 medical education products, and have won awards from both medical specialty societies and at startup business events.