ReelDx – Video Learning for the Digital Age

March 10, 2014

We’re excited to have ReelDx as a sponsor of 33 charts.

ReelDxI remember as a pediatric resident studying the famed Zitelli Atlas of Pediatric Diagnosis to understand how disease looked.  Rashes and physical findings were best understood visually.

We still learn by seeing.  But what we look at has evolved.  New, networked media represent the next iteration of the glossy atlas.  Textbooks are giving way to applications and dynamic content platforms that can grow and adapt almost in real time.  The modern medical learner is consuming and acquiring knowledge with new media.

reeldxreeldxreeldxI had the chance to play with one platform making a move in this area, ReelDx.

What is ReelDx?

ReelDx is a video learning library of real patient encounters recorded in actual clinical settings.  The case writeups are brief, focused, direct, and visual.  Beyond the videos, which tend to run 1-2 minutes, the clip is associated with other elements of the patient’s story including medications, past history, etc. Many cases include diagnostic imaging and other test results.  Curated links take the learner to supporting content around the subject matter.

The interface is intuitive and uncluttered.  Cases are produced and peer-reviewed by credentialed MDs.  This is definitely not YouTube.  Think of it as an academic journal brought to visual life.

Currently ReelDx offers video libraries in pediatrics and emergency medicine.  While the ReelDx library in pediatrics offers cases of all varieties, I found myself gravitating toward dermatology cases (I’m terrible with rashes). There’s something about seeing real patients with skin eruptions – from hives to HSP – that really makes stuff stick.

The power: videos in context

For me, ReelDx’s power comes from a video case delivered in the proper context.  Where I’m going here is that ReelDx delivers a case within a broader context.  The democratization of media has allowed the development of tools that lower the threshold for sharing.  Showing a picture or clip is one thing.  However, showing a clip in the context of history, final diagnosis, treatment and supporting references is where the money is.

More exciting than what ReelDx offers to learners is its potential for the future. As an educator I’d love to see analytics surrounding learner use.  How long do they spend there?  What links do they use?  I’d like to see an option for assessment. Community features that allow users to comment on and exchange ideas about a case might add real value.

It also might be an interesting option to hear more of the patient’s narrative.  A 2-minute clip sharing the patient experience might be powerful.

In sum, while teaching by video isn’t necessarily new, ReelDx is the first platform to do it in well in this emerging multimedia space.  While positioned as a video library, I might go wider and see it as an information exchange platform for the modern physician and patient.  Platforms and applications like ReelDx represent the learning media of the 21st century.

ReelDx is currently available for individual subscription as well as institutional licensing.. Their cases are filmed by contributors at organizations such as Yale, Johns Hopkins, University of Louisville and Oregon Health & Science University.

You can give it a try here.  Let me know what you think.


Stesha Doku (@dohkoo) March 19, 2014 at 9:05 am

Great idea. I think all levels of training will find this type of resource incredibly helpful.

Mfon Umoren March 19, 2014 at 8:56 pm

This is a great tool. I am a medical student and I agree that no amount of textbook and journal reading will make information stick like seeing its presentation in real life, and video may be the next best thing. They also have a pretty significant collection, which is important. I like that this is quick and compact, like a refresher, with links for more detailed information. We have used a similar case-based resource called Med-U throughout clinicals, although those are longer and use images, not video.

The one thing I have noticed is that most of these case-based resources focus on getting to the diagnosis and the most straightforward treatment, which is perhaps as it should be. However, as a student one thing i really struggle with is the practicals of pharmacology – meaning how does the treatment approach change when the patient has a drug allergy, or when the patient is taking another drug that interacts? What lab values do I need to check before initiating a certain drug? What side effects do I need to monitor for and how often? I feel like these kind of issues are also difficult to learn and retain from a textbook, and I would be interested in seeing a resource that attempts to familiarize learners with this aspect of medicine. If you know of any, please share!

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